After an August inspection by Crowsnest Quad Squad president Gary Clark and director Joe Lumley it was decided that three area bridges needed repairs and upgrades. The club finances trail work through a yearly raffle, with the proceeds being used for projects such as this.
After many hours of preparation and arrangement Lumley, the bridge builder, marshalled his volunteers, who came as they could, some for a few hours, some for many hours, some from near and some from afar.
The members hauled the equipment and materials up hill and down dale and over rickety old bridges to the work sites with their quads, then divided into work parties and tackled the tasks with much gusto and enthusiasm, with many hands making light work. There were those who tackled specialized jobs such as welding and grinding while others took on demolition, preparation, packing, cleaning and replacement of components. Whenever someone made an error, they were laughed at and shown the “correct” way, at which point it was often agreed it was time for a break to “discuss” the project and any different ways to do things that might result in a better outcome.
Pictured from left to right starting at the fellow bent over in front of his quad: Grant Jordan, Garry Schneider, Joe Lumley, Bob Pollock and Peter Tichler. — Hugh Dunham photo
They used the materials and equipment to remove old bridge runners, broken decking and old railings. They then opened the old bridge decking to allow access to weld metal brackets, designed to support new, higher metal railings, to the existing bridge frame. Some of the bridges needed to be relocated to some degree; some needed levelling and just a general rejuvenation of the bridges that had been in place for about 10 years.
The 12-man crew used hammers, picks, jacks, brooms, drills, saws, welders, grinders, screw drivers and generators, with some people being proficient in the use of certain tools, while others learned how to use some tools, again with jolly instruction from fellow workers.
In the end the crew had put in 231 man hours of work and about 2,000 kilometres on their quads and trucks. Three bridges now have improved railings, better approaches and level decks. They are ready for another 10 years of use by quadders, hikers and snowmobilers, adding to the worth of the community as a whole. The club members worked hard to better the bridges and gained a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction of jobs well done with like-minded companions.
Even though many of the work crew were present when the bridges had been installed originally, or old enough to have been members of those crews, they tackled the jobs in three rather widely separated areas. They did so with enthusiasm, common sense and commitment, which resulted in high-quality results at each location with minimal direction from our director.
We are all hopeful that new members understand that by the time the bridges need the next upgrade, it will probably take some of those new members to perform those upgrades. Everyone is welcomed to join work parties and learn what is involved in keeping our trails and bridges in shape.
Because of the separation of the work parties I could only catch a few of the members for a group photo. Although I missed some members their work and dedication is recognized and appreciated by everyone. The fact that I couldn’t gather all members for the group photo, just shows how motivated they were to the overall project and how they tackled it with enthusiasm and determination, separating into their groups and traveling to the different work sites.