Instructables

A cantilevered foot bridge out of logs - with a hut!

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I have the best job in the world.  Sometimes I get to work with a dedicated citizen and a group of willing volunteers to make something lasting and beautiful.  (And useful!)  Come and see this bridge in Petersburg, Alaska!

I acquired a grant to put in a bridge over a stream that was between a park and a mile long trail.  The plan had been to install a glue-lam or log bridge across a 50 foot wide part of the stream.  Building a log bridge is actually pretty easy if you have big timber to work with.  But a citizen approached me and asked if he could design and guide the construction of a cantilever bridge with a small hut on it.  Shortly afterward a Boy Scout was looking for an Eagle Scout project... and here is the process.
 
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Step 1: Design

Working with local Forest Service engineers the designer took his vision for the project and ensured it was matched up with the right diameter and species of log.  The engineer did calculations and accounted for humans and heavy snow weight to ensure that the volume of concrete and fill used for the cantilever would be adequate. 

We were able to use a significant rock to perch the hut on and as the fulcrum point for the long cantilever.  However, after calculations regarding the volume of water and high tide we had to raise and enlarge this point.

Designer's statement:
This bridge consists of two cantilevered wings meeting but not touching, in midstream.  The concept is of a glorified log crossing.  This bridge is not handicap accessible; in fact it is intended to bounce a bit, just like a log, before one crosses to the other side.  The moss covered Troll Booth along the way can seat four people.
My vision is to encourage the pedestrian to pay attention and to enjoy a playful transition from one side of the creek to another.  the cozy Troll Booth will make one want to pause, listen and watch.  The view of the narrowing walkway ahead, and of the wings not touching, and the slight bounce of the bridge will alert ones' senses.  As one steps onto the other wing, the crux is passed.  Making the turn and reaching the stability of the other bank will complete the transition across the gateway.
Some people may not want to cross the bridge, because it requires paying attention, just like the trail ahead.  And that's ok.  There is a little here for everyone; it's more than just a bridge.  Going part way and just sitting in the Troll Booth offers its' own rewards.  As in life, it's a rough trail ahead, and we must pay attention as we cross each bridge along the way.

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tim_n4 years ago
Why cantilevered?  Why not two piers?  Other than asthetics of course...
clazman tim_n2 years ago
That's what is special about artistic work such as this! You work with what is naturally available, i.e. a rock at mid stream!

Cantilevers are very interesting, i.e. Husky stadium at the UW in Seattle. It was designed as a cantilever system. To the average person on the street it appears as impossible.
zieak (author)  tim_n4 years ago
Purely aesthetics.  The designer definitely had a vision of making the bridge much more than a way to cross the stream.  He wanted the bridge to be an attraction, and something to engage the senses. 
Ferguson1993 years ago
I live in Alaska and if I find my self down that way I want to go and see this!
vincent75203 years ago
the hut on the bridge in simply exquisite : great place for meditation I would say
o.neill.k4 years ago
I would just love copy of those plans.
As a resident of Anchorage Alaska I am apalled that you didn't have the consideration to put this bridge near me so I can go see it.  : )  Good job.  Maybe I will have to take a trip to Juneau one of these days a swing by Petersburg to see the bridge.
This bridge is a work of art, give my compliments to the designer and the Boy Scout (now an Eagle Scout I guess)
-chase-4 years ago

Looks Great Zieak... may i ask
the Bridge designers name? Might as well give him some online credit... ;0)
Did you have a part in the design as well?
How long from start to finish?

Where exactly is this bridge?

After thought - Can one see it on google satilite maps i wonder?

Best time of year to hike the trail to see your Bridge project or should one say "Our" new bridge... ;0)

Again hats off to you and all involved.

zieak (author)  -chase-4 years ago
I didn't know if he wanted his name posted online - but when I last spoke to him I mentioned this Instructable and he didn't seem to be phased... Dieter Klose.

I met with him a few times during the process but only in a supportive role.  

The bridge is located here.  But online satellite maps are not good enough resolution for my area to see the bridge or to zoom in close enough to even see the stream.  

The bridge is only 200 feet from the parking area inside Sandy Beach Park so any time of the year is good!
-chase- zieak4 years ago
Wow - you're right, the satelite images are really bad. I'm surpised at that.

And andother wow - i thought this was in Cali or Washington state somewhere... that's not too far away... Arkansas is great state with a lot of good parks and scenery. I traveled through there and met really nice people along the way.

If you don't mind me asking, What is the name of the Park it is located at? I didn't see it above. I dable in 4x5 photography and am always making note of locations that are interesting. This bridge adds rather than takes away as many structures do and i'm sure the rest of the trail does as well.

How long is the trail that this is on? I mean is it a Day Trail or overnighter - 2-3 days to complete? Or a link to find out more about it?

I only ask about the Designers name because i thought i might see if there was any other cool stuff he designed online. He seems to take in the seemingly lost art of designing with nature instead of against it - if you follow my meaning.

thanks for anwsering my post - and again hats off to all of you involved in this project. I'll take agander at your site this evening - i noticed your link. Seems your involved in some interesting things as you mention in your instructable. Liking what you do always helps in the outcome. ;0) Seems you have found a passion for this sort of thing. Congrats.

-chase-
zieak (author)  -chase-4 years ago
Arkansas might be a great state with good parks and scenery... But Alaska has even better! 

Just kidding - people make that mistake with AK all the time.

It is located in Sandy Beach Park.  My father is a photographer and took this one of an old cabin chimney that's about 150 feet further along the trail.  

The path is one mile long.  It isn't developed at all though - just a swath cut through the forest along the beach.  But A $26,000 grant will upgrade that path this coming summer.

Dieter hasn't done any other bridges like this.  His work primarily involves residential and commercial buildings.  If you look up his name online you can read about his mountaineering experiences in the are though!
-chase- zieak4 years ago
lol - well that makes it a bit farther away for sure. I've seen some photos and documentaries on Alaska as well some friends have been there - are there now i believe - they go up every year over the winter. Beautiful state!

Your Dads pic is real nice - 
 though i wish he would post it just a tad bigger... i have pretty high rez on my laptop and the wide white border tends to over power the image imo) Though i understand reasons for keeping it small on the web.
- just looked again at it, others and around the site -
The whole site is your dads... and he shoots 4x5 and 5x7 - that's so cool.

The photo your dad took does show that the area has some real character. And with your bridge project adding to the ambiance... I definitlely need to get up that way again. Fartherst i've been is Big Sur in Cali. at this point on the west coast - Montreal, Ca on the east coast.

I like your Ball Field Pond pic on your site - that's a lot of shoveling from what it looks like... glad it wasn't me. ha... ;0)

I'll definitly have to plan for another trip your way - there is much i want to see on the west coast again or for the first time.

thanks for taking the time to answer my questions and the chat.
And thanks for all your hard work on the trail and to all involved.

-chase-
zieak (author)  -chase-4 years ago
Thanks Chase.  If you ever make it up to Alaska I'd be happy to give you some good tips on places to visit!
-chase- zieak4 years ago
I'll just may take you up on that  - fav'd your instrucable to save it.

Take care and stay warm!
-chase-
T3ch0b0y4 years ago
Really, really nice job.  I just took a virtual tour of Petersburg and It, and your bridge, are on my bucket list.  Suggestion....Could you place a photo or two of your bridge on Google Earth to show it's location.
Congratulations on such a great project.  I'm jealous.
-Mike
rrm4 years ago
You put in a lot of work. Too bad some citizens can not enjoy it. Don't forget to consider the ADA when designing projects such as this
zieak (author)  rrm4 years ago
It was a guarded choice to not make it entirely accessible.  The rest of the trail will not be built to ADA guidelines.  And it is worth noting that trails are exempt from those legal restrictions.  Are you familiar with the work of Beneficial Designs? Their system of mapping trail characteristics to determine the level of accessibility is a much better measure of the degree of ability necessary to enjoy remote trails.

Before this bridge, a person with any mobility impairment, loss of sight, or any other of many limitations would find this route (it is 200 feet from a parking lot) completely inaccessible.  

My first job in my degree focus after college was providing recreational services for people with disabilities.  We took them out cross country and downhill skiing.  Ever loaded someone with severe MS into a chairlift?  I'm just saying to let you know I'm very well aware of the struggles of people with disabilities.  But I'm just as well aware that if there is a will, there is a way.  And that this is not a topic I take lightly.
rclark4 years ago
this is great! How did you acquire the grant? Was it a local grant?
zieak (author)  rclark4 years ago
Actually it was a federal grant through the Forest Service.
nix784 years ago
So awesome.
Does anybody have a picture of the view from the hut, down (or up) the stream?
zieak (author)  nix784 years ago
I need to work out there and will take a few pictures with my cameraphone.
sliver824 years ago
This is fantastic & a credit to yourself & all involved. Very, very well done.
zieak (author)  sliver824 years ago
I appreciate that!
Knightsabre4 years ago
 "Troll Booth"...I love it!  

GREAT bridge, wonderfully executed!
zieak (author)  Knightsabre4 years ago
Thanks!
trowhite4 years ago
It look very well done. I see your group took the time to plan the whole thing out and it definitely paid off. Good work and good luck on your next project!
did you guys dam up the stream while you worked?
zieak (author)  DannytheGreat4 years ago
Nope.  The variation in the flow just really depended on the amount of rain we had.
wenpherd4 years ago
I'm blown away.
whiteoakart4 years ago
This is really great.  And, yes, you do have one of the best jobs in the world.
destelle4 years ago
hey I was just looking around on instructables and came across what looks a lot like Sandy Beach in Petersburg, (were I grew up) really cool
zieak (author)  destelle4 years ago
That's the place!
When was the project completed? I spent a summer in Petersburg a few years ago. Would love to see the bridge, so maybe this gives me an excuse to get back there at some point. Great job!
johnsterlin4 years ago
 This is beautiful for several reasons;

1. It get's you across the creek.
2. It provides a place to stop, listen, reflect, and enjoy nature.
3. It's made mostly from nature and would eventually return to nature.
4. It's whimsical in it's design and construction.
5. It's made by people who care and want to spread that to others.

Thank you!  This is a gift to everyone.  You brought me joy today.

John
wumbly4 years ago
What is it with you Alaskans and these "bridges to nowhere"!?
chinese_boy4 years ago
maybe some outdoor lamps shining to the river would be cool, this might make it easier to fish.........well if theres fish
apolo14 years ago
Hello.
I just wanted to ask is that stream a host to spawning salmon?

zieak (author)  apolo14 years ago
In 10 years i have never seen salmon in that stream.  It would make for a great observation platform.  There is a smaller stream close by that i have seen fish in and some harbor seals prowl the bay there though.
Koosie4 years ago
That must be the dodgiest bridge I've ever seen, but I love it!
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