If your property is split by a creek or small pond, you may be considering constructing a bridge to allow you and your family members easy access from one side to the other. This home improvement project can increase your property values and improve your quality of life without usually requiring a significant cash outlay. However, this is a project that can present challenges for even the most enterprising DIY homeowner, and you may even need the services of a civil engineer to design your bridge in a way that will allow it to stand the test of time (and of rushing water). What factors will you need to consider during the bridge construction process? Read on to learn more about the elements of a stable bridge and what you'll need to do to ensure your bridge lasts for decades with minimal maintenance.
What structural supports are needed to keep your bridge in place?
Although a simple bridge can be constructed simply by laying a platform over the surface of the water, in order to keep your bridge stable and serviceable for multiple users over a longer period of time, you'll need to sink supports into the water and secure them with cement or metal bars. As water hits your bridge, it will force these supports even deeper into the mud and bedrock below, securing your bridge against flooding or other potential sources of damage.
A civil engineer can help you design a bridge that has supports appropriately spaced and adequate in size to support the weight of the bridge (and any individuals crossing it) as well as the perpendicular pressure caused by flowing water.
What factors will you want to consider when designing your bridge?
In addition to the general structural considerations you'll want to take into account when designing your bridge, you'll also want to pay attention to the factors specific to your own piece of property. For example, if your area tends to get heavy rains every spring and summer that cause your creek to overflow its banks, you'll want to build a bridge that arches in the center or has access points slightly beyond the banks of the creek so that you'll be able to cross even during rainy times.
You'll also want to take comfort into account. If you're planning to locate your bridge in a sunny area, you'll want to avoid dark colors or finishes that could leave the bridge too hot to cross during a summer day. On the other hand, dark, heat-absorbing colors may be appropriate for bridges in shadier areas or colder climates.
For more information, contact a company like Morris-Depew Associates Inc.