Many landowners find themselves needing to cross a creek, stream, or wetland on their property and many times, it becomes a monumental and/or an expensive endeavor. Crossing such waterways or wetlands can harm water quality, wildlife, and even alter the water flow….not to mention the potential of damage to any equipment a landowner might be using. Proper planning is imperative and the lack of it can cause more problems down the road. Most states have requirements concerning creek or wetland crossings and often a permit is needed.
Fords, culverts, PVC pipe bundles, wood mats, panels and pallets, tire mats, corduroy crossings, pole rail crossings are all ways to cross a wetland or stream. Which one is the best? That depends on a lot of different factors; the size of the stream, creek, or wetland, the potential for debris, the cost of both construction and maintenance, and the amount the road will be used and how it will be used all play a role in deciding which method or methods are viable and which ones aren’t.
Fords – a crossing in which vehicles drive directly through the stream. Fords work well when crossing infrequently or for short periods of time.
Culverts – a pipe or other round object that diverts water under the crossing. Culverts work well in streams with well defined, deep channels and can be installed rather quickly.
PVC Pipe Bundles – consist of pipes cabled together with galvanized steel to form mats which are placed on top of a water permeable (but very durable) fabric.
Wood Mats, Panels, and Pallets – are made from logs or sawn hardwood. These are cabled together to make a single layer crossing. Panels and pallets are stronger and larger versions of shipping pallets
Tire Mats – are constructed by interconnecting tire sidewalls. Lengths and widths are modified to fit different soils and conditions.
Corduroy Crossings – are built from brush, slash, small logs and other woody substances such as mill slabs.
Pole Rail Crossings – are built on site from hardwood poles from local trees. Pole rails should only be used with skidders that have wide, high flotation or dual tires.