Tackling the unique needs of trail construction and maintenance in the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks takes some ingenuity, creative thinking, and lots of heavy lifting. The most recent construction project opened on the trails is the Baker Bridge, a connection point in Black Star Canyon that weighs in at nearly 15 tons.
The bridge spans Baker Creek, allowing hikers, bikers and equestrians access to the SilMod Loop Trail without having to travel along Baker Canyon Road. This connecting path will make Black Star Canyon Wilderness Access Days more convenient for all participants, but few will think about the level of complexity involved in wilderness construction.
Stringer beams were then hoisted into position using a backhoe, then set in place with a hydraulic hand crane. The bridge is finished off with a deck and can withstand 85 pounds per square foot of traffic, including up to 4,000 pounds of maintenance equipment. Here are the astounding statistics of what is underfoot each time you cross the Baker Bridge:
- Bridge Length: 50 feet
- Bridge Width: 5 feet
- Bridge Weight: 9,460 pounds
- Foundation Dimensions: 4 feet wide, 8 feet long and 2.5 feet deep (per side)
- Foundation Weight: 9,330 pounds (per side)
- Stringer Weight: 1,172 pounds each, four total
- Steel Beam Seat Weight: 350 pounds (per side)
- Total Structure Weight: 28,800 pounds