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Mill Creek Central Trestle - Installing Beams II 

October is normally the driest month of the year in  Ohio.  However, this year September was unusually wet and that carried into October. On Tuesday the 16th we got over 2 inches of rain.   The following day we decided to put up the span between towers 4 and 5.  However, first we had to tack weld the side legs of tower 5 to the top of the tower.   That required the welder be transported to the site.   We tried to get it up the hill with the wheeled vehicles but no luck --- too slippery.   The tracks in photo walked up the slippery slope with no problem.  We left the welder there for the professionals to weld the gussets on the remaining towers.

The ground between towers 4& 5 is fairly flat so we were able to use the backhoe to get the beams for that   span into position from the west side.  We had cleaned that area the previous week to make this possible.   These 22  foot long - 12 inch tall beams are the biggest on the trestle.  The beam on the west side went up without a hitch.  The hand winch started to malfunction when we had the east side beam about halfway up.   We replaced the winch with a come-along and finally got that beam on the towers.  This was the last of the I beams, the remaining beams are lighter and shorter structural tubes.   That was also the last of the hand winches; all we had left was an electric wench.

We spent the rest of Wednesday getting the six structural tubes drilled and wire brushed and primed.   Rain was forecast so we moved them into the steaming bay.  Thursday it rained again but we were able to get the black paint on the beams.  Thursday night it poured again.  

Friday was the day to put up those last six beams.  A quick look at the slippery hillside convinced us that we couldn't get the beams to the sides of the towers.  We decided to install  the pair between the south abutment and tower 7 first by using the electric winch to drag the beams from the south abutment to tower 7.   We used the backhoe to get the first beam to the abutment.  Bad ideal; it sank into the relatively new fill.  After that first beam was in position we started to move the backhoe out and it started to slide off the fill.  Dozer to the rescue.   We used the Kubota for the rest of the beams.  It is lighter, has a narrower wheel base and has 4 WD .  The second beam went into place with little difficulty.  We used the welder to provide ac power to the wench.   

We positioned the beams between tower 7 and the south abutment on their sides next to each other.   We then dragged the beams for the tower 6 - tower 7 span from the south abutment over these two beams using the winch on tower 6.  We were too busy to take any photos 

The photo on the right shows installing the first beam between towers 5 & 6.  The  beam is between tower 7 and the south abutment.  It was pushed to this point by hand  --- the wood dowel roller made this easy.  Dan Staron had just connected the winch to the end of the beam and slid the carpet underneath.   Jon Jaros is operating the winch.   This is the same technique used to install the beams between towers 6 and 7.

This shows the beam near the tipping point.  The rope on the left slide keeps it from becoming a battery ram  when it tips.  

Dan looped this large rope over the beam and pulled down to extend the tipping point. 

It tipped but was only a few feet from tower 5 so it was not difficult to hold it back.

This is the second beam for that span between towers 5 and 6 --- we slid it across on the first beam which had be turned on its side.

Note that this technique would have been much more difficult to use on the I beams because they are nearly twice as heavy and have a shape that makes sliding more difficult.

This is the mud on the approach to the south abutment; the soft earth is relatively new fill.  The beams will rest on a concrete pad just this side of the wood cribbing.  We're going to wait until spring to pour that pad ---- hopefully the soil will have settled by then.

View from the south abutment.  The right beam on the abutment needs to be blocked up about 4 inches. All the beams need to be aligned and some need shims to make them level and to make the joints even


This is the view from the north abutment.  The U shaped pieces are deck railing posts. We made up a few to verify that we were satisfied with the design ---which we are.


This picture was taken the day after the those last beams were installed.  The sun finally made an appearance.

All the beams are up.    The remaining work to be done on the beams is to align them, insert shims where required, install the plates and angles that tie adjacent beams together and to tighten all the bolts.  That work won't produce any interesting photos so we'll end this page here.   The next major part of the project is the deck ----- look for a page on the deck in a few weeks.

A bit of reflection ---- after we had the first tower up in August we put together a schedule for the remaining work on the towers.  The goal was to try to get all the towers up and hopefully one or two beams up by the final meet of the year on October 20-22, 2006.   The photo above was taken on October 21, 2006.  We did much better than that original schedule.  The project was no less difficult than originally thought and the weather was much wetter that normal.  The success to this point is due to the many enthusiasts who helped.

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