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Swamp crossing road

Discussion in 'Picture Forum' started by Jim Timber, May 17, 2015.

  1. Jim Timber

    Jim Timber 1/4 bubble off

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    I bought 84.5 acres of hardwood forest 4 years ago, and was land locked on 6 sides except for one corner which happens to be a 5 acre black ash type 7 wooded swamp (I own roughly 2/3 of it). Over the past 3 years I've been working with the county wetlands coordinator on how to gain useful access to my high ground, and this past winter I finally decided that the silvicultural exemption was the best tool to use at this time. My exemption was granted, and I then waited for the spring road weight restrictions to be lifted on the 8th - 9 days ago. It's been a busy week.

    In 2011 I started working on a corduroy trail. This was tedious work as I had to hand carry the sticks since the muck wouldn't support the atv's weight let alone with cargo (I had to winch it through). I had plenty of wood from trail building and other clearing projects, so I worked at it as I did other things on my high ground. Last fall, I was about 90' from having that trail completed to handle the atv and a trailer. It was in dealing with that, which pushed me to pursue a permanent option. My WCA decision on the corduroy was that it was a no-loss, but I was limited to 6' wide and couldn't add any fill, it was also issued as a temporary use permit which would expire this year. Even walking on the wood was dangerous when it was wet, and the wood would shift in the spring with the high water of snow melt - the trail needed to go.

    Click on the pic and the video will pop up.

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    The trail was cut using the path of least resistance going around a pair of 24" downed trunks. That turn would become the Achilles heel of the trail, because there wasn't enough width for the trailer to follow the arc even after it was firm enough for the weight.

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    After initiating the permit process, I started cutting trees to straighten the path.

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    Then brought in stone to firm up the landing area (the day before spring weight restrictions took effect).

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  2. Jim Timber

    Jim Timber 1/4 bubble off

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    So after 5 loads of stone it started firming up, but there was still frost under it holding things from sinking. I'm not sure how much fill it'll take to get that shoulder to not flex under a 3T axle load, but if we keep the heavy loads limited to when there's frost in the ground it shouldn't be a problem.

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    After the rock, I switched to taconite tailings to top dress it and make my base for the road bed.

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    There's 255 yards of tailings down so far, and I'm only at about 75% width for my road's drive surface. I'm not sure how many more loads of tailings we'll need because this should've gotten me to my 2' elevation at 12' width already. The swamp will eat more yet, so I'm not going to worry about it. I'll just keep adding as needed from here out.

    Once I had the base down and driven over a few times, we put the culverts in.

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    Then I kept motoring loads back with the tractor to get the rest of the way to high ground.

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    Had to extract those logs I'd worked around before.

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  3. jwilly

    jwilly ArboristSite Operative

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    Geotextile fabric laid down first will save you a whole bunch of material. We us it all the time.
     
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  4. Jim Timber

    Jim Timber 1/4 bubble off

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    Being within a few buckets from driving across is a wonderful feeling.

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    Until you manage to rip out your wiring with one of those sticks...

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    It was just the lights going up the roll bar, but it could've been much worse as the fuel tank outlet is inches from where these were zip tied.

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    But a half-hour with some solder and crimp connectors got things put back together and I was back in business shoving trees up the hill so I could fill over clean mud.

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    I have a lot of work left yet, but my swamp is passable!



    And I'll get to remove those sticks too...

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Jim Timber

    Jim Timber 1/4 bubble off

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    Without scraping out the organic matter, there would be too many stumps and it wouldn't lay flat. All the info I found on geotextile also indicated that it needs to extend to firm ground on both ends for it to work, and the asphalt isn't even bedded firmly enough to handle a 42Klb truck without rolling "waves" in it (kinda cool to watch).

    The muck depth is 3.5' at most over a 3" clay bottom, then dry beach sand below that. So geotextile isn't needed in this type of project.

    If I cut a hole in the clay, it would drain the swamp and I'd be responsible for replacing the affected area at 2:1 - it'd bankrupt me. So I made the decision to fill over the root mat and deal with compaction and settling.
     
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  6. 54stude

    54stude ArboristSite Operative

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    I would have probably made he same choice and put the road on the top. Where I am in mn, we don't have taconite tailings available on a regular basis, too far south from the range. Is it similar to class 5 recycle in terms of size and compaction, or more like gravel?
     
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  7. Jim Timber

    Jim Timber 1/4 bubble off

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    There's some similarities between it and class 5, but with the sheer volume of tailings my guy has we had the option for bigger chunks or more fines depending where the scoops came from. When he knew I was putting in base he'd bring me larger material, then when I was top dressing he'd get the finer stuff. The tailings were a joy to work with. They firm up nicely over goo, and pack down like concrete with a bit of traffic. My front axle was around 6,000# with a full bucket of this stuff and you could see it rolling when there wasn't enough cover. Once you got about 6" and drove some passes over it, it'd stop moving.

    This is the cheapest fill available due to it being a waste product from an hour North of my guy's pits. The material itself is $6/yd, then the rest of the cost was delivery and he's about 45 minutes away. Running a tandem axle 12yd and quad 15yd truck in pairs, I could usually get the 25yd loads down before they came back with more, but just barely. When I had to do any other tasks like moving trees, I wouldn't beat them to a flat landing. It made for a couple really long 11hr days (no lunch break or beer 30's), but I'm glad to have it done.

    [​IMG]

    Once it rains on the stuff a couple times, the iron oxide washes off and the color of the stone comes out. I really like how it looks. I'd been planning to top dress it with sand, but I'm going to leave it.
     
  8. chucker

    chucker Addicted to ArboristSite

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    lol!! it wont be long jim and the wife will be wanting a copper red vehicle as the tailings will turn what ever color you are driving now to red! you can always know when someone's been in the mine pits with the tell-tail signs of red tires and side panel's..... if you take a drive to Crosby/ironton, you can tell who goes off the tar beaten path!
     
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  9. Jim Timber

    Jim Timber 1/4 bubble off

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    My tractor doesn't seem to pick it up. It was raining 2 of the 3 days we were hauling fill, so that probably had something to do with keeping it clean.

    Also, the water in the swamp cleared up after a day too.

    I think the pits/mine color is because it's not getting washed off, but I could be wrong - it's happened a couple times. :D
     
  10. Fly By Night

    Fly By Night ArboristSite Operative

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    Why couldn't you drain the swamp?
     
  11. Jim Timber

    Jim Timber 1/4 bubble off

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    Because it's 6.5 acres and I only own 3.5 of it. And then there's that pesky government with their Wetland Conservation Act which says that's illegal. And that still doesn't account for the natural spring which feeds the swamp - and it's 30-50 gallons per minute of flow I'd have to send somewhere else.

    All of which is rather moot though, since I love my swamp. I just needed to get to the other side of it. :)
     
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  12. Jim Timber

    Jim Timber 1/4 bubble off

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    After 60 more yards of tailings to get over some "high side" muddy furrows, today made history. I drove up the hill to the future garden (present pistol range). :) She's a functional road now.

    [​IMG]

    Just need to cut more trees and grind the stumps, then it'll be ready to move the cargo container up to this spot.
     
  13. Jim Timber

    Jim Timber 1/4 bubble off

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    Still need to drop a couple more trees and remove the stumps, but the road is taking shape.

    Sorry for the shaky video. Might want some Dramamine. :p

     
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  14. Jim Timber

    Jim Timber 1/4 bubble off

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    Haven't done much of anything in the woods this summer. About 4 weeks ago I started working on building a 3pt stump grinder to knock out the stumps in the road and garden (and for future clearings, etc).

    My first rendering used 1" pillow block bearings for the cutting head pivot (to raise/lower the wheel) and that turned out to be no match for the forces involved. The bolt ears cracked off in less than 1 stump, but the grinder was showing great promise.

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    Pillow blocks were succeeded by some PTFE bushing blocks I made out of steel, and got back to grinding stumps.

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    I ground about 8 stumps out and started noticing the grinder would twist when the swing cylinder was almost fully retracted, but figured I was on a hill and the arm must be dragging on something. Then I kept going and it happened in a new spot. No biggie, I don't need to swing it that far to cut that stump - kept going.

    Then I went to line up on another stump and popped a stringer weld on the back of my bushing block mount. Then the "new" bushing block snapped the tubing holding the bushing. "How odd" was all that came to mind. Knowing I needed to re-work that joint now (as the mount was 15 degrees from square), I took the grinder off the tractor - only the PTO shaft didn't want to come off. WTF??

    So I pulled back the cover to be able to gain access to the u-joint and found out why it was binding earlier, and why it broke the way it did:

    [​IMG]

    As it happens, the PTO shaft I got wasn't "heavy duty" as advertised and couldn't handle my 58 PTO ponies. It was wedged together about 16" and twisted at least 120 degrees.

    [​IMG]

    Chopped the old mounting flange off:

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Jim Timber

    Jim Timber 1/4 bubble off

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    Made a change to the .240" wall 2.5" square tubing, and made some new pivot blocks:

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    Then modified my 3pt chassis a bit since I had it home.

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    I didn't have a long enough piece for the left corner brace to be the same as the right, and it looks a bit goofy but it'll work fine.

    Then my neighbor helped re-assemble everything on the trailer (sans cylinders so it'd fit on my 4x6 trailer). I'm still waiting on my new Series 7 PTO shaft parts, but hope to be grinding again by the weekend.

    [​IMG]
     
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  16. Rookie1

    Rookie1 Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Wow!Thats alot of work. What do you plan on doing with the land other than garden?
     
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  17. Jim Timber

    Jim Timber 1/4 bubble off

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    I'm working on lining up a mill to sell some aspen and oak to this fall, and will be building my house close to the middle of the two 40's, further up the hill from the little garden clearing. The garden is only about 1/4 acre and will double as a landing once I get the stumps out of it. The garden's littered with 12" stumps that pretty much make it impossible to navigate with anything but the atv.
     
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  18. svk

    svk Firewood and Saw Collector

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    This is an excellent thread, thanks for sharing!

    The old access to our hunting cabin was through a swamp and we buried many a vehicle over the years so I feel your pain. Always talked about corduroy but never did it. Then the loggers built us a nice road in from the other side and now we can drive a car in anytime snow isn't an issue.
     
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  19. Jim Timber

    Jim Timber 1/4 bubble off

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    Thanks!

    It's still somewhat surreal just going for a walk and heading out in sneakers. Used to be 18" muck boots and you still might get wet feet. ATV bushings and brakes wore out quickly from the under-water/mud exposure every pass through the swamp. In-laws were always bitching about the mud from the ATV in the driveway (even though it's just class 5). Neighbors were always bitching about the high revs of the ATV driving through there at all hours of the night (because I'm a night owl).

    The road has been a huge improvement. The taconite tailings are staying put nicely despite several heavy rains this year. We have vegetation coming up in them as well, which surprised me how quickly the swamp tried to absorb the road (which is good). I'm absolutely thrilled with how the road has gone so far. Next spring will be interesting, but I don't envision much drama with any of it.

    Most of my PTO parts arrived today (just missing the safety shield), but my Father-in-law is in the ER from possibly a mild heart attack. Looks like I might be stuck home a couple more days. He's 81, so this could be really bad for him. His brain is on it's way out to dementia, and I think his parents died in their late 70's. I don't want to get stuck with just my MIL either. I actually love my FIL and like him as a friend. I'd tie a brick to his wife and throw her in the lake if I could get away with it. :innocent:
     
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  20. svk

    svk Firewood and Saw Collector

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    Looking forward to updates and wishing the best to FIL and family.
     
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