Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Hurricane Matthew Boardwalk Repair

In our previous post regarding Hurricane Matthew, we showed the three boardwalk issues related to the storm. Yesterday, with the water finally low enough to use the chainsaw on the oak's trunk, we began the final repair.
Oak tip-up damage - Image Mark Musselman
For the beginners out there, the first rule of boardwalk repair is to avoid the venomous Eastern Cottonmouth. If you cannot see the snake, we will remove you from the boardwalk repair volunteer list and you can scroll down to the bottom of the blog for a helpful image.

Eastern Cottonmouth supervising repairs - Image Mark Musselman
With the oak resting in two places against separate trees as well as on a branch impaled in the earth, calculating the direction in which the tension would release was the largest concern. Not only did we not want to pinch a saw, we wanted the root ball to drop back in place and remove itself as an obstacle.
Crown of oak - Image Mark Musselman
Mike Dawson cutting trunk - Image Mark Musselman

With some scrap lumber supporting the trunk on the crown side of the cut, the root side of the cut stood up and dropped the root ball back in its hole clearing the way for the boardwalk repair.

Root ball dropped in place - Image Mark Musselman
Supported boardwalk - Image Mark Musselman
Mighty oak - Image Mark Musselman
Only one mid-rail was broken by the uplifting. However, the intact section of boardwalk was too heavy for two men to move as a unit.
Boardwalk in the breach - Image Mark Musselman
Therefore, the railings and deck boards needed to be removed...
Removing deck boards - Image Mark Musselman
...and reassembled once the supporting boards were lifted back in place.
Attaching stringers - Image Mark Musselman
Decking complete - Image Mark Musselman
This morning, we returned to ram the lifted 4x4s back to level and reattach the mid-rails and handrails. All sections of the boardwalk are now repaired and open! After some repairs to a nearby rest stop, the boardwalk will be back to pre-Matthew form.
Final touches - Image Mark Musselman
For those who missed the snake earlier:
Cottonmouth revealed - Image Mark Musselman

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