More grooming, more bridge work, endless snow removal

In what feels like life in a snow globe, it goes without saying that all of this snow has kept us more than busy. I can’t remember the last time we’ve had this much snow in such a small window of time. We’re running out of room to store the snow in the parking lot, we almost need snorkels to shovel out the HVAC units on the roof of the clubhouse, and we’ve almost lost the snowmobile a few times in epic drifts, while trying to groom the winter trails.

The winter trails have been groomed multiple times this week, so take advantage and get out there quick, because it’s about to snow again! The golf course is absolutely spectacular looking right now under all this snow, so I highly recommend just taking a walk on the trail if you can. You can really see, and experience, the unique topography of the property with no leaves on the trees, and resulting long views. However, if you are on the he trail, it is interrupted twice on the back nine. Once in front of 10 tee, and again in front of 12 tee, as we needed to create a plowed road to the dump, left of 12.


On to the bridge work. Even the snow has had an impact on its progress. First, we’ve had to keep the surrounding ice of Walsh Lake clear of snow, 40′ around the bridge, as to keep the ice formation moving forward. This task alone has been monumental, with a lot of hand work, and has had to start from scratch every time it snows or the wind blows hard.  But it’s been extremely successful, in that the ice froze all the way to the ground, allowing the excavators and skid loaders to drive right on the ice. At the same time, by keeping the area clear of snow, it drove the frost in the soils down over three feet, around the existing abutments, making the excavation of soils excruciatingly slow, as seen in the video below:

Because of the snow, the metal to create the steel support beams and footing boxes were delayed over a week, while in transit from New Jersey, and we’ve lost over a week to dangerously cold temperatures. But now we’re making great gains, and progress is being made to get us caught up to our timeline. We knew that constructing the bridge during the winter months would be a challenge, but getting one of the coldest, and now, snowiest February’s on record, seems to be just our luck…

You never know what you’ll find underground on a golf course. Soils tell the story of history, if you know how to read them, and the existing bridge construction was told by the soils. After realizing that the existing abutments on both sides of the bridge, which are the large cement “blocks” that was holding up the old bridge, were twice as large, and thick, as the construction drawings, the soils told us another story. It was obvious that when they built the existing bridge, they added soil to shorten the length of the gap on the North side, essentially shortening the length the bridge needed to be constructed to. Unfortunately, they didn’t use quality soil, and probably was a reason for the abutments failing, eventually tipping inward from frost heaving. We also realized that the construction methods below the abutments more than likely led to failure. There was plywood under the abutments, more than likely to create a box to de-water the area when pouring the cement structure. The plywood created air space, and frost heaved it even more each year. Subsequently, we needed to excavate the poor soils, and replace it with clean rock to create a stable foundation for the new footing boxes.

To explain, the boxes (which will be filled with cement, and all tied to one another with steel), will serve as part of the new foundation of the bridge. This could be the most important aspect of the construction phase. The boxes all have to be set within such tight elevation variances, perfectly level in all directions, properly supported, and lined up in a perfectly straight line.

These boxes are being placed below the water level, so you won’t see them. With their sheer size and weight, they are very difficult to get flush, and to the calculated elevation.

Looking at the photo below, the excavator is parked on the cart path, which shows you the scale and depth of the boxes.

If you find yourself on the course, close to the bridge area, please stay back. All of the placed, open, footing boxes are covered with large tarps, preventing snow accumulation inside of them. Next week, Hartman Construction will finish placing all of the abutment boxes, and if the weather cooperates, we’ll be pouring cement and installing the helical piers.


Have a great weekend,

Mike Manthey

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