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Monday, July 1. 2013
I got a consult from a local contractor who said it was a straightforward repair. He thought we could just jack it back up, add two I-beams to reach the far bank, and put in some cement blocks at low water in August to support the necessary extension. Around a $7000 job that he could do in two days.
But...he felt uncomfortable repairing it without a wetlands permit and an engineering OK. I explained that this bridge had been there for 60 years, and another bridge there for over 100 years before that, and that we had fixed it in the past without permits. He said I needed to consult an engineering firm to do the permitting and to ok his plan.
That has to be wrong, but instead of finding somebody else to consider the job, I did consult with a reputable local engineering firm. They inspected, and came back with an estimate of $27,000 for permitting and design, not including the actual repair. They said the permitting could take as much as two years, starting with the Army Corps of Engineers and ending with the Massachusetts Wetland Authority and the State and local DEP. Many hearings to be attended, apparently, by certified engineers. No guarantee, he said, that we could get a bridge repair permit in the end because the State wants "wild rivers." Mind you, this stream is in no way "navigable" except on barefoot, and is only as "wild" as a stream can be which winds through cow pastures and corn fields.
We do not have that kind of spare money in the farm's budget.
Meanwhile, one mile down the road, the state is widening a 1936 one-lane WPA cement bridge, about 20' long, over the same small river - a trout stream, really. Bulldozers, cement mixers, portapotties, portable office, road grinders, asphalt rollers, trucks, etc. Stimulus money. Modern infrastructure for a town of 600 permanent residents and more dairy cows than people. They have been working on it for four months, and it seems nowhere near done.
One problem is that we are required by our agreement with the local land trust to maintain the upper meadow with an annual mowing. We want to do that anyway. We can't get there now. There is no other way to get across the stream with a tractor because at least one side of the riverbank is always fairly high.
No wonder people get pissed off at government. However, I never consulted any government on this.
It's just a simple, ordinary repair. Property maintenance. I am sorely tempted to ask some illegal Mexicans to just come in with two 6' I-beams, a jack, a welder, and some cinder blocks to fix it. Nobody would notice - or care. No, you can't see it from the road. I'll find someone who wants to help me fix it the old-fashioned Yankee way: patch it and make it last.
This ain't the Brooklyn Bridge.
Tracked: Jul 02, 20:30
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Perhaps, yall could commission a chopper and avoid havin' illegals lend their hides to DOC which would negate any $ savings.
Hmmm, that bridge ain't broken....just a little 'deferred maintenance'.
What you need is not to 'replace' that but to simply 'repair' it. "Repairing" pre-existing fixtures needs no Goobermental authority, do it?
Semantics, use it only for good.......;)
"Repairs" is exactly the means the EPA intends to use to require expensive upgrades on coal plants.
At some level of repair, as decided by the EPA, the plant will have to be re-permitted. That new permit will require state-of-the-art pollution controls.
Those NEW controls will make many coal plants uneconomic and will cause shutdown.
Same with your bridge. You need to repair it but the bureaucrats will require new permits. When they do expect demands for "habitat restoration" and "100 year flood" studies. Your $27k for studies and permitting will turn your little tractor bridge into the Brooklyn Bridge.
Just get them to do it. You'll save time, money and hassle.
My neighbor, across the street from my last house, was a contractor. In the 12 years I lived there, he did 3 major improvements. In each case, he was diligent to start work on a Saturday morning, and finish as much as possible before nightfall, then cover the work with a tarp(if it wasn't finished) and complete it the next day.
One day I stopped by to ask why he didn't just work a normal schedule. He told me he knew the town inspector's schedule, and he didn't go down our street on weekends. If the work had been noticed, he'd have been fined by the inspector. By completing jobs quickly on the sly, he added tremendous value to his home, avoided red tape, and didn't pay any fees.
Most permits are just revenue generators for a town.
Well, now you've done it. You made this public. Of course, your first mistake was bringing in the outside contractor but then doubled down with the engineering firm. Any work you do will now have witnesses as to what you did.
On the other hand, this is a repair, which if you can figure out which palm to grease usually has an exception. For a fee. But you have to know who to pay off, get the wrong guy or make the right guy mad, you're screwed. BTW, did you donate to the local Democrat party? If not, up where you are at, you're screwed.
Another major point of permits and inspections is that it allows the municipality to increase your taxes, because your property is now worth more., and they wouldn't even know about that new basement suite without the permit.
Damn shame. I'd get the land trust to make the appeal for NJ Mike's "deferred maintenance" rationale. When lib conservationists make requests, things happen that never will when evil people like farmers apply.
Git R' done.... senor.
Many's the time when I lived in Brooklyn that a broken or cracked or otherwise damanged sidewalk got repaired in a couple of hours by a gang of mexicans that came out of nowhere and evidently did the job for nobody for nothing and then just disappeared.
--a little tip, if it'll help. Sometimes you need a support in a wet spot, and building forms and pouring cement is beyond your desire. And just building cinder blocks won't hold against the creek rising. But you and a few teenagers can heft bags of portland easily enough, and just drop 'em in the water --don't open the bags, the bags are your forms. Before the paper rots away, the cement will have long since set. If you can't get to rail level with the wetting action (you can set a level of bags that's out of flowing water, as long as the course below is almost submerged --the wickking action --slow but sure), you can sure get up out of the mud and water, and block up to rail level on a firm dry foundation. The underwater sets will not be as strong as mixed concrete, but if you make a squat pyramid, you can surely drive a vehicle over it. Leave some time between your lower and middle courses, make sure you have a set to insure against materials loss if you fail in the first course --this is rough building, y'understand. I've made little dams this way, they're solid as rock.
PS, these bags will not bond together, the paper prevents. They hold to each other by weight and the fact that you laid 'em to where they'll harden into shapes with features making the structure accommodate the creek flow --such as, long axis of bags aligned with water flow more than broadside to it --this is good if the law comes around and wants you to demolish your work --every bag will be its own rock and you can take the structure apart and use it elswhere, or rebuild in situ after you get out of the scofflaw dunking stool.
Good old Southern engineering! At least that is what I recently heard it called.
Also, do some of this in the winter. You don't want to have cranes and such. Just drive you truck out on the ice, jack the beams in place and finish on a pleasant spring day.
This is good advise, Buddy. If I lived closer BD I'd come fix it just for the fun of it. We often do this kind of thing here in my neighborhood in Arkansas.
The issue is not always the government. Engineering firms can also overplan, not because the local government requires them to, but because that is what engineering firms like to do. At least some of them. Add three tons of concrete when one ton will do. Cover the million year flood.
One engineering firm submitted a plan for my HOA which resulted in contractor bids from $50-150 K. We consulted an independent contractor, who said the job could be done with different engineering plans AND with appropriate city permits, for $25K. Which it was.
You know know what needs to be done. I'd get the necessary material & tools, then go pick up some Hispanic laborers and repair the existing bridge myself without telling anyone.
Floreat Anarchia! Ewige Blumenkraft!
Well, obviously, the cheapest solution is to covert your tractor to amphibious operations.
Or order a few scythes and go old school for the mowing.
You're hosed. A contractor, an engineering firm, and this blog. Way too much public evidence. The only legal option left is to negotiate with the Land Trustees to get them to help pay for it, at which point ownership will devolve to them.
If anybody gets injured on a non-approved, non-licensed, non-permitted repair; or on the bridge afterwards: your liability is unlimited.
--yep, old Zach's posse will be standing there waiting for you to finish up and go home, so the last in line could trip over that nail you didn't countersink and domino the whole crimson crew into the creek.
You could post it as 'at your risk' and get some protection --at least you could yesterday, most jurisdictions. Would an 'attractive hazard' list for Taxxachusetts be somewhere on the net --?
Mentioned this to cousin coyote and he says he can get yall a grip of Texans, white mothers and uncertain who daddies are .
Jail ready for yall yankees.
I read somewhere recently that 10 percent of the GNP is dedicated towards complying with Federal regulations. Seems they want about 1 percent just from you. And, good thing Google earth can inform the powers that be when the bridge is fixed.
I've seen Buddy Larsen's method used frequently here in NW Fl.
It works well for repairing driveways failing because the soil has washed away, and the concrete is cracking above the gap. They fill the hole with Quickcrete, wet it, and days later folks are driving over it.
One last...in Michigan, where the in-laws live, there was a several hundred dollar (I think) building permit required to replenish the gravel in a driveway. Gravel companies would not (could not) deliver without the permit.
We used to have beachfront property on Cape Cod Bay. Each winter storm or nor'easter eroded the dunes and washed out the sea grass. Mass EPA required special environmental engineering studies, from a limited list of approved firms, for any remediation, and big fines if no remediation was done. Could easily run up $25k each year after weather events. Even when many meetings and consultant bills were done, someone in Mass officialdom carped and whined about what was done, what we should have done instead, etc. A nightmare, sorry we had to lose the property, but keeping it was just not worth it anymore. Now it's somebody else's problem.
I learned this lesson the hard way when I volunteered to get a new concession stand built for our town's ball park. The mayor wanted me to check with the county, get the necessary approval and do it legal. Big mistake. Ended up costing over twice what it would have without adding anything useful or positive to it. And a project that could have been done in 4 months took over a year. If I had a do-over I would just have got the thing built and taken my chances.
After the Egyptian style uprising you will be able to do as you please. Delete the EPA...
--funny, dorf, i've been having the same thought off and on for two days now.
Back to the bridge --you'll want to determine the nature of the mud you're dropping the first layer of bags into. If it's silt --the stuff that moves along the bottom, try to find the clay (if it can't be rock) layer under the mobile silt and get the bags down onto it. If you rest the pier on silt and it undermines in faster water, that silt layer will be how far your pier settles after the next storm.
Just any old rod will do (rebar stabs thru mud MUCH better than a 2x4, mind) the test, mark the top of the wet spot (water surface) after a rod touch on bottom (a round of duct tape will save you losing your wet spot). Next, push that rod into the mud as far as you can, put your weight on it and give it some force to get as deep as you can. Extract and mark wet spot #2. The difference between the top and the bottom round of duct tape is your mud depth, to be seen as addition to water depth, and will determine the area of the base of your squat pyramid, and you can rough in your number of bags needed from there.
You should also try to leave your joist rail free to float on the top of your pier, so if it settles it won't shiver your timbers, and you can more easily shim 'er up as needed.
I'm surprised that you didn't have to get USCG approval as well. :>) In theory, all inside rivers and streams are "navigable" if at any time for more than six months of the year there is sufficient water to float a vessel - which would include a canoe and siimilar.
Buddy's solution is the best one in my opinion.
thanks, an officer of engineering opinion is a good opinion1
Also want to mention, when you deck, look at the tree rings on the deckboard ends. The arc parallels, the rings, think of as water-holding cups, and always place your boards ''cups down'' --upside down coffee cups, like --to fractionalize the rainwater absorption volume and thus extend the life and minimize the warping of the deck board, regardless of whatever anount of waterproofing or paint you intend to apply.
Check for agricultural exemptions and/or for maintenance of existing structures. In CT, that would fall under right-of-use/agricultural farm roads. And, at least in my town, might not need a permit. Unless, you changed the location of the abutments by increasing fill.
Failing that, cash and keeping your mouth shut... unfortunately, as commentator #13 said....way too much evidence.
Get some hardy workers from Home Depot parking lot or wherever, get them to fix the bridge, feed them lunch, pay a good wage and say it’s all part of Obamagration or Rubiogration or GangofEightogration.
I've been thinking about this more. You are still so hosed. Either you're going to lose ownership of the bridge (but not it's maintenance costs), or you're going to be paying a lot, and a lot every year.
It's in no one's interest except yours to repair the bridge. Every city, county, state, federal Fredo is demanding there must something in it for them, if construction of a bridge is to be undertaken. A better bridge is more revenue and control. They'd rather it be torn down than repaired as is. The whole idea of a private bridge over a waterway gives them the heebee-jeebies. You're not just building that bridge for yourself, you're building it for the unknown future landowners. A bridge must be a long-term community asset.
You have three choices: build the bridge right, above board and transparent, and pay all their fees, and retain full ownership. Negotiate with the Land Trustees, lose (at least partial) ownership of the Bridge, and accept various encumbrances (locked gates, warning signs, sunset ownership).
Or the third way: be determined to find a way to stiff all the Fredos, find the loopholes in the laws that they passed to ensnare you, and build the most minimal bridge you can come up with. Spec it: 500 lbs GVW (riding mower/ATV/snowmobile width), 5 persons max, temporary usage (only during summer), same height (if the bridge has been there that long, no need to build higher). (It'll probably be the 100-yr snow load that is the design-to requirement, with a lesser safety factor.) They can't prevent you from building, else it's a taking by denying access to your property, and they'd have to pay up. It'd be best for everyone (except the loser lawyers) if the bridge just got built.
You're on to something. BD's side has already made a donation of great value to the community and the future, in the conservation grant.
If he's already hosed (no doubt that the way to've snuck in a repair was to've scabbed it all the way, (willfully) ignorant that it could possibly amount to anything more than changing a tire on the tractor, in order to get the field mowed) and the thing to do is let it all hang out, then put the conservatory trustees in touch with the county, letting both know that twenty grand worth of admin is too much to tolerate, and the local newspaper would probably agree if asked.
Locals dump rocks into the stream until a tractor can drive over it with wetness but no trouble.
The stream flows through and over the rocks like any stream.
--and if the water is too wide and/or deep for that, then maybe the barge solution applies? Two rowboats with planking makes a barge (and also might create a picturesque 'upside down tractor' island in the stream feature).
One way to get rocks is run a stone bear over a field that you want to get the stones out of, if say you're a farmer.
How big is the meadow?
A man can scythe an acre a day, more if you're only trimming the tops rather than harvesting.
Spread it over a month and you get your daily treadmill workout in the fresh air.
www.scythesupply.com is where I get my stuff. Less than $200 for an "outfit." Get a straight snath.
You NE Yankees need to get some old west spirit. A wolf problem....shoot, shovel, and shut up. Modify slightly and it works for bridges. Rebel a little...no wonder the government has decided to micromanage everything.
Wait, Victor Davis Hanson has implied this method in his writings about the town he lives in.
Sell the bridge to some illegal Mexicans with a use easement for you. Then they can build whatever they want and the government men will be afraid to say boo....no money in it for the government, lots of paperwork, and fear of protests when illegals are involved. But hurry, they are working hard to make the illegals legal.
www.scythesupply.com - that is awesome. What you can't buy or learn on the internet will never cease to amaze me.
I like JKB's proposed solution. It has great merit.
You could also try the VC trick of building a replacement bridge under water that cannot be seen from above or nearby. With so little traffic you could probably get away with that just fine and then fall back on observing that it aint really a bridge if it is found.
The situation here puts me in mind of a job description I saw about 10 years ago.
The state of Idaho was advertising for a Packer, whose duties would include maintaining emergency air strips where motorized travel is prohibited. The Packer would be responsible for traveling to the air strips by horseback, and mowing the airstrips using a horsedrawn mower.
It didn't pay much but it made me heartsick to think that such a job existed and I couldn't have it.
A horse or mule team should be able to easily cross the river and mow your field, if you have the right contacts. But such a low tech solution is difficult now-a-days
--wow --that sounds like a line-rider job in the olde west --
Here's one idea to piss off all the government Fredos. Make it a drawbridge, with the beams and posts structure exposed and permanent, and the decking retractable/rollup. Since you were going to have to spend the money anyway, spend it on the rollup decking. That way you don't have to design it for the 100-year snow load, but keep it for the 500# GVW or 5 people. Roll it up in the fall after the last cutting, roll it out in the spring.
--i'd bet the locals would lend a hand --esp Little John and Friar Tuck. Can't count on Robin, he and Made Marian are always off on some field trip or other
You could produce a new film ("A Bridge Not far Enough") with the appropriate title song ("The Water Is Wide") to 'lay' the foundation.
Sounds like a winner!!
"A Bridge Not far Enough"
--i like it --the abridged version from the get-go, no edit to credit --let's get started, water we wading for?
water we wading for? I know what I R wading 4...The 4th...so I can fly Ol' Glory beside my Maple Leaf (sometimes affectionately referred to as "The Beaver Banner") to celebrate our country's friendship, with our southern neighbours, across the longest undefended border in the world (short bridge or not).
Good onya! HAPPY 4TH...!!
I forgot one thing..."The Catcus Cuties" have a tune 4 U...
WoW --that was GOOD --thanks --i sent it to BD if he wants a bookend for the national socialist public park --
And backatchas, my hale fellow well met northern neighbro!
"The Water Is Wide"...
I can't 'zactly tell you what to do - I can only tell you what I would do -
"...he felt uncomfortable repairing it without a wetlands permit and an engineering OK. I explained that this bridge had been there for 60 years, and another bridge there for over 100 years before that, and that we had fixed it in the past without permits. He said I needed to consult an engineering firm to do the permitting and to ok his plan. "
At that point - I would a) find another contractor (preferably local, but whatever needed - YMMV), one more inclined to contracting/git-er-done and less inclined to statism/Gubment-total-compliance, or b) apply a Buddy Larsen-style solution on my ownsome, only if absolutely necessary hiring some Home Depot-parking lot "day labor" heavy-lifting help.
Just my $0.02 worth.
At this point, though...your options seem limited.
Maybe temporarily "bridge" that 3-foot gap, in order to the mowing job when needed, using some temporary beams/planks/supports, then - having let "sleeping dogs lie" until next Fall/early Winter - apply Option b) ?...
On reconsideration - another possible solution might be to apply rhhardin's idea, i.e., constructing a minimal ford (plus, perhaps, a minimal, rock/rubble-faced ramp to overcome the bank height(s)) - would only be usable part of the year, of course, but you only apparently need to cross it a couple of tmes a year anyway.
Maybe a local contractor would be willing to do the ford/ramp without the permitting/engineering studies, etc.?