Rigsby Lane Bridging the Gap…

Our bridge replacement is almost complete.

The contractor, who has looked after our dirt road since the late 90′s, started work during the second week in July to clear out the old bridge and gently lower this gargantuan culvert in place.

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30′ x 6′ Culvert

Once settled he’s going to fill it in with dirt and chunks of concrete to make a passable road over the creek for us to cross safely on foot and in our vehicles.

We had been told that if we wanted to leave our properties for work or shopping or appointments, we should park our cars on the other side in a neighbour’s driveway,

take a freshly beaten pathway through the trees and poison ivy to the puddled creek bed,

and follow the steep slope upwards on the other side.

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Charlie making sure all is clear ahead on the short cut

Which Charlie and I did each morning on my sunrise walks.

With groceries in tow it would prove to be a little bit of an obstacle course and since we were already well practiced in the art of sheltering-at-home, Hubs and I stayed put for a couple of days and wandered up and down our driveway to keep an eye on progress and document the historic event.

Before our man-on-the-spot started work I nipped down into the creek to take a photo from beneath which showed lots of places where the cement had been distressed by the weight of cars and pick-ups and RV’s and such, as well as moving trucks, concrete mixers and other building equipment over the last 20-30 years.

Notwithstanding it appeared to me to have held up reasonably well.

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Distressed bridge

On the first day he started early and dug for hours, just one man in his air-conditioned cab operating a machine with an arm that transitioned from bucket to jack hammer with the flip of an hydraulic switch.

He mounded the crushed rock and dirt that had accumulated over the years into what I viewed as expensive piles… we  private road owners had paid a lot of money each time the mile+ lane had had to be repaired.

He paused for lunch and I snapped a few shots of his mechanical help-mate at rest.

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Digging out the old road

The rock and dirt was much deeper than he had expected so the job took a few hours longer than anticipated but finally he was able to start the more rewarding work of demolition.

I was right there watching…keeping my distance…

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Demolition

By the end of the day the tired, old bridge was out,

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Crane from below

and the gorge was ready for the mammoth culvert.

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Ready for the culvert

The following morning there it was, all 30′ of tubular steel resting on the edge of the gap all ready to be settled.

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Culvert in place & ready to be lowered and tucked in

When time came to tuck it safely into place our contractor was able to re-use the valuable tons of dirt he’d cleared away.

The years of road surface we’d already paid for.

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6′ monster

Close to the end of day two our new passover looked finished except for the step up on the other side,

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Almost done

which he made quick work of with his skid steer levelling off the road so that we could once again drive and walk, to-and-fro, without worrying about slipping over the edge.

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Level and passable

A vast improvement on what we had grown used to!

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Cross at your own risk!

Phase two is due to begin in a week or two to reduce the steep incline to an easier gradient,

bring in several lifts of new rock to divert rain water into the creek to slow erosion,

And…

Let’s not forget the Guard Rails!

Soon the bridge that wasn’t a bridge will cease to be and we will have successfully Bridged the Gap.

 

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