Temporary Bridge Over Pool.

Old 06-13-13, 03:21 PM
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Temporary Bridge Over Pool.

So... I am getting married in about 6 months and am saving some money by having the ceremony and reception in my mothers backyard. She has a rather large pool which is a long rectangle shape. A while back I built a lattice arch thing next to the pool which pretty much lines up with the center. The plan is to build a footbridge that stretches across the pool. The wedding party would be walking two at a time across the footbridge to the lattice thing. The vows will be said underneath the lattice thing with the wedding party to the left and right of it and everyone else watching from the other side of the pool.

I'm pretty good with woodworking and have a couple ideas on how to do it. My big concern is the length of the bridge and the size of beams I would need. I don't really know the stress points of the various beam sizes. I have seen pictures of arched bridges but that seems a little intense for what we're going to be doing.

I need to get a more accurate width of the pool but I know it is about 23' across. The side with the lattice is approximately 2.5' higher than the other side. There is one of those underwater side of the pool seats right where the bridge would end on the lattice side.

My general thoughts are two have two or more appropriate sized beams go straight across from the one side to the lattice side. the ends would come up to the wall since the lattice side is 2.5' higher than the other side. THere will be some supports that sit on the underwater seat that would hold that side up. I would then build a couple steps that go up the 2.5' to the landing where the lattice thing is. I don't want any rails and it needs to be wide enough for two people to comfortably walk.

My worry is how big of wooden beams I need to span the distance without a center support and still hold the weight? Again only two people will be on it at any given time. I don't know how much everyone weighs but lets just say the unrealistic max of 600lbs.

The bridge will only need to last about a week or so. I plan on using the wood after for future projects. I also plan to go as cheap as possible with it.

Any hints tips ideas advice or comments would be very much appreciated. I am going for cheap as possible but know large beams are expensive. I'm not going to be able to drill into or otherwise fasten anything to the concrete around the pool... my stepfather would murder me. The plan is to have the weight of the bridge hold it in place.

Oh... and I would like to stick with wood.

Thanks a lot!
Old 06-13-13, 03:54 PM
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Welcome to the forums!! I am left here with my fingers on the keyboard and don't know where to start

Here goes. You know that little Porsche you have been looking at down at the dealership? Choice..... Porsche or bridge.

You will need a structural engineer to visit the site and give you his opinion as to whether it is feasible and safe. Then an architect will need to make drawings based on the engineer's findings. I don't think this is a simple DIY project. A 23' suspension bridge could get expensive.

I just have my doubts it would be a good idea. In addition, you could drive the Porsche after the wedding. What will you do with the bridge. Momma ain't gonna let it stay over her pool, guaranteed.

Others will chime in here, so hang in and listen to what they have to say.
Old 06-13-13, 04:17 PM
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I think if you want to have a wedding by crossing a bridge over troubled waters, you need to find an existing bridge and use that instead of building a temporary one.

Otherwise, look into laminated beams, floor trusses, or bar joists.
Old 06-13-13, 04:33 PM
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Old 06-13-13, 04:41 PM
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Sorry...I have to agree with the others....but is does sound like the makings of a fantastic Worlds Funniest video

Now...if you happen to be near a port, you may find a company that will rent you a portable brow (gangway to non-Navy types) that could be craned in to position and then you can dress it up as needed. You'd need wood underneath to protect the concrete around the pool.

Now...my gut advice? Walk around from different ends of the pool and meet in the middle on one side.

Been married 3 times and the one that has lasted is the one that the least money was spent on. Justice of the Peace in her sunroom looking out towards the James River. The dinner we had afterwards cost more than the ceremony and the license.
Old 06-13-13, 04:44 PM
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I would stop thinking "bridge" and think more "scaffolding". A bridge to span the distance and remain relatively stable as couples walk in step would be rather difficult and expensive. I'd consider erecting scaffolding in the pool to support a deck. It would require getting wet but would make the job much easier and less expensive.

Oh, and make sure your homeowner's insurance policy is paid up and consider an umbrella policy for an additional million or 10. Invited guests, temporary structure built over water, heavy formal clothing & alcohol. I'm thinking you can't have enough insurance.
Old 06-14-13, 07:11 PM
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If you refuse to listen to the logical advice given here, and go ahead with your bridge plan, at least install some hand rails on it. Doing so just might lessen the punitive damages awarded to the plaintiff's estate following an accidental drowning.
Old 06-15-13, 11:07 AM
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Thanks a lot everyone for the quick response! It appears to be a futile effort. We will try to come up with something else.
Old 06-16-13, 05:05 AM
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Oh... and I would like to stick with wood.
Eh, you don't want to stay with wood.
Just use aluminum scaffolding planks and 4x8 plywood.

Rent a pair of 24' aluminum scaffolding planks (pick boards) for 2 days. Get longer if you have to. Ballpark cost should be about $1 per foot per day, or $24 per day, per plank.

Set the ends of the pick boards on sand bags, add more sand bags at the sides for stability.

I'd go with six 4'x8' sheets of thick plywood (not strandboard) for the walkway laid 8' wide so they can walk side by side.

I'd bolt the plywood sheets together with 2x4's on top and bottom, staggered so they overlap. Pre-drilled of course, so you can assemble it in pieces like an erector set.

2 x 4's will also create an upper lip to keep people from stepping off the edge;
lower lip to keep the bridge from sliding off the pick boards.

Last edited by Hal_S; 06-16-13 at 05:25 AM.

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