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Bridge Input Sought

Posted by uvascanyon (My Page) on
Mon, Sep 5, 11 at 2:01

I'll be constructing an elevated deck that will sit on top of a cargo container.

While I know the easiest way to have access to this deck is with a stairway, while barbecuing today, I noticed that I have some land the same height as the cargo container, but about 25 feet away. So, the idea of a bridge came-to-mind... Yes,I had a couple of beers, but I still think the idea is a neat one; a long as it's doable without breaking the bank...

I include a very short video that I hope reveals what I'm trying to accomplish here. If I were to go with a bridge, I'm envisioning it connecting at the right end of the container, as seen in the video. I believe I have an old wooden ladder in that spot now...

I've built decorative bridges before, but never a functional one. Any ideas with respect to design and materials? Would a truss bridge be overkill? If you have any photos to share as examples, that would be much appreciated.

Thanks much.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bridge to elevated deck?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Bridge Input Sought

I'm curious Uvas, why are you going to R side of container (where ladder is) instead of going from deck to L side? It looks to be near same height and half the distance.

Is the container deck for fun or utility? If fun, then I'm brainstorming the possibility of swinging bridge into the mix...? (especially, if you have a local stand of bamboo you can harvest from.)


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RE: Bridge Input Sought

Can you use the tree as a support to go from your deck to the container top?

More importantly, if you're partying a lot, then being connected to the kitchen with the most direct route would be useful.


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RE: Bridge Input Sought

Thanks for the follow-up! Clearly, you saw the video.

The deck that is currently there needs to come down. It is over 30 years old, unsafe and beyond repair. Oddly, the deck boards / planks go under the house too! Pull the boards out, the house drops 1.5 inches or the thickness of the deck boards. More importantly, I plan to do an addition to the house and will use that area to grow the interior space. The house currently has no garage, thus the container...

There is a large redwood and fairly small oak tree there. I can't quite envision how one or both those could provide support for a bridge though.

A good deal of the partying will be under the patio, and in that area. I think that was visible in the video. This new deck area (20' x 12') on top of the container would just be another location to hang-out, maybe a group, let's say the husbands, wives or kids.

I appreciate the ideas!


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RE: Bridge Input Sought - follow-up

Yardviser, I forgot to ask, but a swinging bridge?

Might you mean something like this?

For those with a few beers in them, I don't know, lol.

Also, FWIW, the initial drive here was to shelter the container, keep the sun off it as it gets quite hot inside with the sun pounding on it in the summer. I painted the top white, but that's still not enough. The deck accomplishes this by giving it shade and allowing for any built-up heat to escape upward through the deck planks. And, it also satisfied my need for more deck space!

Here is a link that might be useful: Photo of swinging bridge


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RE: Bridge Input Sought

You are one imaginative dude! But if I were you, I would check the building codes in my area before I spent any money on lumber...


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RE: Bridge Input Sought

At first I thought that was a satellite dish on your clothesline. What an easy way to tweak the aim!

Yeah, that's a swinging bridge. Just wondering how much fun you want to interject. But conventional deck style construction would probably be easier.

With the existing deck going away I see the space between the two existing trees as a better route for a bridge to pass through than to the right of this. A better destination is more toward the center of the container than where the ladder is. I think the bridge should start very near top of grade. (There's no point in going down the hill a ways only to go back up a different hill which is what moving it all to the right seems like it will do.) While this might make the bridge longer, it's probably only going to need support posts at about every 8' of it's length, or so. And probably some angle bracing. That's as though the bridge were supported in two evenly spaced places along its length and at each end. 4 supports (pairs of posts or "anchors") total.


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RE: Bridge Input Sought

Yardviser, that made me laugh. I didn't show the wife the video as I'm sure she'd ask me to edit out the "dish", lol.

Yup, I hear what you are saying, just extend the deck to the bridge, the same materials. Thinking about using the synthetic wood though, if that matters any. Oh, if I were to put this bridge to the middle of container / deck, between both trees (where the hammock is at), tree branches would be factor. I know, just trim them... It's a beautiful redwood though.

What about a metal truss bridge? Not sure where to get something for this application, but I'm thinking of something like the attached image. I would think with such a design I wouldn't need vertical supports every 8'. I could still use the same decking, I would think.

Here is a link that might be useful: metal truss


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RE: Bridge Input Sought

Good. Glad I gave you a laugh!

I like my tree branches over my head, not in my face, but if you like them that way, what else matters?

If you can build a strong metal truss bridge, beefy enough, sure it can span without supports. (You must have some kind of special access to metal & abilities.)

Adrennemb, I think Mr. Canyon lives in a country where building codes do not apply.


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RE: Bridge Input Sought

Unincorporated area, with building codes alright. I've emailed those folks a few times over the years and will be doing so again once I have my desirable options ranked. Do you envision a code/s not allowing for this possibly?

I have a welder, only used once, so certainly so skills worth speaking of. And certainly no access to steel, but my cousin does have a sign biz, so maybe I do...

Thanks for confirming that a truss bridge can be beefy enough for no need of vertical supports. I'm sure we'er talking some serious metal though. Such a bridge wouldn't need side railings too.

Thanks again.


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RE: Bridge Input Sought

My thought about the tree was if you're going to build on a container, then why not also incorporate a tree-house into the scheme.


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RE: Bridge Input Sought

"Such a bridge wouldn't need side railings too"...hmmmm....couldn't know that without seeing drawings and specs.

What code doesn't allow...it's beyond ridiculous sometimes so there's no telling. You just have to check or take your chances...dependent on where you live. Many codes really have to do with appearance, though no one will ever admit to that.

If you're new at welding you might need a little practice. Good welding is not as simple as it appears. Things can go wrong with welder.


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RE: Bridge Input Sought

A tree-house, that is something I didn't contemplate. Not sure these are the best trees for that though. That said, when on top of the cargo container, the trees are right there, so it would feel like one is in a tree...

Yardviser, with the truss bridges I've seen, the floor is secured to the bottom horizontal. The truss diagonals and top horizontal effectively act as a side railing. At least that is how it would appear to me. Hey, speaking of railings, might you be aware of ways or options to do this on the deck itself too? Wouldn't want anyone to fall-off...

I would indeed practice on my welding before I entrusted it with some important as a bridge, that's for sure. I will dig through the codes here and send an email seeking clarification before I invest time and money. I hear ya though!


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