Thursday, June 9, 2016

Hubbard Brook Boardwalk Repairs

Just when you think this will be the year we don't have to patch up the Hubbard Brook Boardwalk the maintainer reports that once again there's trouble down by the brook.  As you can see in the photo below the boardwalk section spanning the small creek that has developed over the last years collapsed on the southern end.
The auger anchors just don't provide enough lateral support and with the continued expansion of the brook and lack of vegetation under the boardwalk, well let's just say the inevitable happened!
So, what to do.  A variation of our usual plan was developed that involved putting timber cribs under the boardwalk where sections meet.  The variation involved moving the heavier undamaged section over the creek to the north side of the creek removing the damaged section which had become heavily wracked when the supports failed.  Here, you see Jon removing the last of the joists from the damaged section.
Removal of this section revealed the need for a crib support under the trail north end of this boardwalk segment so before calling it a day we made one up and positioned it in it's new home under the segment end.  Here's how things looked at end of day.

The fun on day 2 started in the parking lot.  A good sized snapper was headed down the road towards the center of South Egermont and another was in the field next to the parking area readying a nest for her eggs.

The first order of business on day 2 was to remove the deck from the span across the creek, disconnect it from the adjacent section and drag it across the stream.  It took our full crew of 8 to make the move, so no picture (sorry).  In any event, it was soon a done deal and assembly of the new crib at the shore of the creek was soon done and the moved segment put on it's new cribs north of the creek with timberloks fastening the boardwalk segments together. 
Next came another variation on our prior repair methods; on the first day we had assembled a box frame 2' wide and long enough to span the creek.  This structure was moved from it's storage location on the boardwalk south of the creek over the creek resting on top of the north and south side segments; a bridge of sorts if you will.

Likely you have also noticed that the deck boards are spaced ~1 1/2" apart, another departure from our prior practice.  Our hope is that this will provide sufficient sunlight to permit vegetation to grow beneath the boardwalk and provide some stability to the whole structure. 

With the boardwalk back in working order we repaired to the South Egremont Store for refreshments before returning to the parking area to load up the truck with all our tools and materials. 

Over the course of this project we explored other hopefully more robust solutions to the ongoing problems we've had with this boardwalk.  Jon suggested an approach he use on Diane's Trail in Monterrey involving pipes driven into the ground.  We plan to give it a test later this year, so watch for the project listing if you'd like to join in the fun.

Oh, almost forgot, the snapper.  Had finished her business by the time we returned to the parking area having deposited her eggs in a nicely concealed "nest".