Building the Bridge

Spring Creek runs through Springboro Tree Farms and it’s really beautiful as you can see in the picture here…

…but wading to cross the creek gets old after a while.

So – let’s build a bridge…

…or two…or three.

If you have been to Springboro Tree Farms, you’ve probably used our little ATV bridge to cross Spring Creek. The bridge provides access to the pond from the highway 18 entrance and to the river from the pond. It plays a big roll in making life here a lot easier and more fun.

First Bridge Top View ScaleBut the one you see today is not the first one we built.

But the one you see today is not the first one we built.

About 1991 we joined forces with Dad and scabbed some “free” scrap lumber onto a tree that had fallen across the creek and called it a bridge. It didn’t last more than a year or two but it did demonstrate the need for one. Without it we simply waded the creek or just didn’t go. First Bridge Side View Scale

We looked at lots of options including large culvert prefab bridges and even considered a suspended walking bridge…but the goal was to get a riding lawn mower across the creek. We consulted builders and most people we talked to said an all-wood structure 90+ feet long would be too heavy, too expensive and not strong enough…that steel was the way to go.

One day Rich spotted two long steel trusses in a truss fabrication yard in Lafayette and though that might be a good place to order the structure we needed…but alas, the money just wasn’t available. After several months of seeing the same two trusses on the lot Rich stopped in to discover they had been rejected by a customer because they were too short. But hey – they seemed just right for what we needed. So we purchased them for a little more than scrap value plus shipping.

And after completing the wooded supports on both sides of the creek, the Rossville FFA boys and girls carried the structures to the site and put them in place. A few weeks of attaching the deck and building approaches and bridge number 2 was complete.Man on Cat Scale

It worked well for a few years. Then in the spring of 2014 there was a huge ice dam up stream and when it broke, the bridge went with it!

Guess we’ve always learned by the lumps on our heads. Fact is the first steel bridge trusses we had were too short for us as well…which made the final bridge a bit too low.

So here’s where the story of today’s bridge starts.

After a friend (Thom Davis) cut the old trusses up and hauled them away we got started with some serious engineering. Loren Honnager (P.E.) at FBI buildings wrote the design specs for three bridge sections: (a) the North approach, (b) main bridge structure and (c) the south approach. The bridge capacity spec is 1500 pounds at 10 miles per hour which is enough to support the Polaris Ranger loaded with maple sap and two passengers.

If you’ve been across the bridge with us I’m sure you’ll agree 10 mph is plenty fast!!!

Anyway, with those specifications the design and engineering team at New Millennium Building Systems, Butler, Indiana, fabricated and delivered the nine required trusses…and Rich and his grandson Cole painted them prior to construction.

The bridge supports are laminated 2 X 8 treated lumber and were constructed by Derrick Blume (Blume Construction near Brookston, Indiana.) Derrick and his team also attached the trusses to the bridge and added the decking. Second Truss ScaleAlmost Done Scale

Bridge # 3 was declared complete after Owens Machine and Welding of Monticello, Indiana, welded the trusses together with the truss connections used to attach the bridge frame to its foundation.

The finished structure is 115 feet long, five (5) feet wide and is generally about 6 feet above the water.

With an estimated weight of 14,000 pounds it’s not going anywhere soon.


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Engaging and Sharing — supporting our community both on and off the Farm.

Making a Difference — acting on our compassion for others.