Low-cost Recycled Rail Cars Repurposed for Bridges
Railcar bridges are a good alternative for landowners and have many advantages over a conventional (Prefabricated) bridge because of their significantly lower cost, reuse of existing materials, and avoidance of impact in the existing stream channel.
Jeff Mack and his family own 168 acres of farm and grazing land north of Clover Creek, for which they have no winter access. During the fall, winter, and spring grazing seasons, Clover Creek water levels prevented passage for livestock management. The Clover Creek bridge project provides all season access to the north parcels for managed agriculture and grazing usage.
Components of the project included an 89 foot railcar bridge with mechanically stabilized earth (Hilfiker) abutments on each bank. Benefits include improved range management with year-round rotational grazing, fencing and livestock water. The project protects water quality and aquatic habitat. The ranch conservation plan also includes riparian fencing and livestock water facilities.
Livestock management requires year ‘round access to check animals, water supply, fencing, and rotate grazing. This access was denied by lack of creek passage during the runoff season. The bridge provides all season access for improved management and use of the property. Also, the bridge was reinforced with steel girders to allow fire trucks and other heavy equipment to cross to the extensive previously inaccessible areas (in case of wildfires or for other reasons). Removable railings can be installed as needed.
Jeff Mack requested technical and financial assistance for the project through the NRCS EQIP (Environmental Quality Improvement Program). The project was completed in October, 2017.