"Telephone Pole" Bridge
Crossing the small creek that separates fields on the Robert Spereslage farm near Greeley, Iowa, used to be a big problem. Every time it rained, the old bridge - made from concrete culverts packed with dirt - washed away and had to be rebuilt.
After experimenting with other designs, Spereslage says he's now come up with the "perfect" bridge for small streams.
It consists of eight telephone poles evenly spaced across the width of the stream and covered by heavy plate steel salvaged from a downed water tower tank.
Spereslage used a tractor loader bucket filled with 1,500 lbs. of dirt to drive the poles deep into the sides and bed of the stream. The poles were buried 5 to 10 ft. deep, with 2 to 3 ft. left above the ground. The heavy sheets of steel were then simply laid over the tops of the poles and bolted together. The ends of the sheets were buried in the banks of the stream.
"It's solid and the steel is heavy enough and thin enough so that it won't wash away when it rains and the stream really gets flowing. It's the best bridge I've ever seen over a small stream," says Spereslage, noting that he can cross the bridge with even his biggest tractors, trucks, and equipment.

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1984 - Volume #8, Issue #1