How Much Does it Cost to Build a Bridge Over a Creek? [2022]

A bridge is an essential element to pass a creek or crossing water or a small canal. It can be used on private property or for public use. You can build different types of bridges over a creek and the cost of the project depends on various types of cost factors.

If you are a house owner, project manager, construction worker, or business owner, this article will be very much helpful for you to understand bridge-building costs and make a better decision.

How Much Does it Cost to Build a Bridge Over a Creek
How Much Does it Cost to Build a Bridge Over a Creek
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How Much Does it Cost to Build a Bridge Over a Creek?

According to our 2022 cost estimate, the average cost of building a small bridge over a creek is around $1,000 to $20,000 or more. You may have to spend $50 to $450+ per square foot on constructing a creek bridge in current years. Creek Bridge-building can cost you $100 to millions of dollars depending on the size and design.

It is difficult to provide an accurate cost estimate without having proper specifications about the project. It mostly depends on the bridge height, length, type of the bridge, location of the bridge, availability of the labor, and materials. For example, the bridge-building cost over a river is way more than a small creek or something like that.

Bridge Building Over a Creek Cost Summary

Depending on the size and quality of the bridge, the cost of constructing it over the creek could be as follows in 2022:

Average Per Sq ft Construction$50-$450
Creek Bridge Maintenance$1,600-$3,100 (yearly)
Small Creek Bridge Cost$1,000-$20,000+
Large Creek Bridge Cost$10,000-$50,000

A Complete Guide about 7 Different Types of Bridge Build Over a Creek in 2022

The cost of building one type of bridge is unique from others. Material, size, length, feet wide, and the foot traffic load or regular ATV traffic determine the type of the bridge and its cost.

In this cost summary, we tried to give an average cost for building different types of small bridges over a creek.

Bridge TypeAverage Cost
Temporary Creek Bridge$200-$2,000
Wooden Skid Creek Bridge$500-$5,000
Suspension Bridge or Swinging Bridge$1,000-$6,000
Box Culverts$4,500-$7,500
Wooden Creek Bridge$500-$10,000
Stone Arch Creek Bridge$5,000-$15,000
Steel / Aluminum / FRP Creek Bridge$5,500-$20,000
Flat Car Creek Bridge$6,000-$21,000

In the U.S., there aren’t very many differences in the bridges used over creeks from state to state. Here’s a table from the California Department of Transportation that can help you compare bridge costs.

Those who are responsible for bridge construction in the United States should follow the above table guide to better understand the project. You can use it to select the best type for your bridge project.

Type #1: Creek Stone Arch Bridge

Stone arch bridges add an antique look to your property. You may want to know how much does it cost to build an arch bridge? Well, it can cost you around $5,000 to $15,000 or more depending on the size and price of the stone for the creek stone arch bridge in 2022. Stone arching is an ancient way to build a bridge.

To build a stone arch bridge, you need to lean the stones against one another in the shape of an arch. This Roman Technique will cover more distance compared to using stones as lintels or beams. It is better to appoint professionals to complete the job properly. 

Type #2: Creek Suspension Bridge or Swinging Bridge

A Swing bridge is more like a cable-stayed bridge. But they have some key differences. It is DIY friendly. You can build it on your own if you have related materials.

It can cost you on average $1,000 to $6,000 or more to install a swinging bridge in your creek in the current year. It can cover more distance with little cost for making a comfortable walking way for the people.

According to Wildcatman, building a bridge of 50 feet will cost roughly $1600, and a creek suspension bridge of 100 feet will cost around $3,700. In case the environmental impact is unsuitable for building a bridge, the costs will increase dramatically.

Type #3: Wooden Bridge Creek

The most commonly used bridge is the wooden bridge. The average wooden creek bridge cost between $500 and $10,000 to build in 2022. How to build a wooden bridge over a creek? To build a bridge you need to make a final design of the bridge. The cost will depend on the types of wood you choose.

A simple wooden bridge is DIY and budget-friendly. For a complex design, you may need to get professional. The average lifespan of a wooden bridge is around 20 to 50 years. You can use a wooden skid with the base of timber or steel. It will take only a few hours to complete the job on your own. 

Type #4: Creek Steel Bridge / Aluminum Bridge / FRP Bridge

Steel, aluminum, or FRP bridges can cost you around $5,500 to $20,000 in 2022. These are more strong and more durable compared wooden bridges. It may cost you some hours today to assemble the frames according to your need. For a steel I-beam bridge, Concreteconstruction.net estimates that the cost per square foot will be between $120 and $160.

Be aware of using aluminum frames. It can be susceptible to fatigue cracking and its shiny appearance can make it difficult for the pedestrian. You can save money by using steel strips and recycled plastic.

Of these three types, the Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) bridge is more costly and more durable. It has a very low maintenance cost and is easy to move. Based on our recent study, the average lifespan of an FRP creek bridge is around 50 to 100 years.

Type #5: Creek Flat Car Bridge

To install a 10-square-foot flat-car bridge on your property, you may need to cost around $6,000 to $21,000 or more carrying cost in the current years. It is becoming more popular day by day.

Building a bridge by using a Recycled Railroad Flat Car is becoming more popular because it is budget-friendly, easy to install, and takes a few houses to complete the task properly.

Type #6: Box Culverts

According to our research, the average installation cost of a normal foot box culvert is around $450 to $750 per ton. Building a ten-ton box culvert can cost you around $4,500 to $7,500 in 2022. Before installing boxes, make sure the installation area is dry enough to keep it stable.

Type #7: Temporary Creek Bridge

For building a temporary creek bridge you can use recycled utility or telephone poles. It is very much budget and DIY-friendly. It can cost you $2 to $5 per foot as per the previous construction work project. Or you can install pressure-treated timbers.

It can cost you $5 to $10 per pressure-treated timber. By installing them side by side over the creek, you will have a simple walkway.

6 Major Factors You Should Keep in Mind Before Building a Bridge Over a Creek in 2022

Several cost factors are included in the bridge buildings. It mostly depends on the type and size of the bridge. Some are very easy to build. They are DIY and budget-friendly and you can easily build your own private bridge.

Here are some cost factors you should keep in mind while constructing a pedestrian bridge over a creek.

1. Building Permission Cost

Before starting the Creek Bridge building, you need to take permits for bridges from the state or local government. Make sure you need permission or not to build a bridge on your property.

Know all the rules and regulations given by the Government and Federal highway administration. You may need to take permission from the water rights, environmental studies, and SEPA reports. This includes some permission fees.

2. Creek Bridge Material Cost

Most of the cost you need to pay is for the materials. The construction cost of a bridge is heavily affected by material costs. The useability, lifetime, and long-term cost depend on the type of material.

Some commonly used bridge-building materials are stone, wood, steel, aluminum, and Fiber Reinforced Polymer. Fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) is more costly compared to others and it is more long-lasting.

Wood has a low material cost but its maintenance cost is high. Steel and aluminum bridges may need heavy equipment during construction. It will increase the total cost.

3. Labor Cost for Creek Bridge Construction

You may need to hire labor to assemble heavy bridges made from steel or aluminum. Labor costs depend on the number of labor, location, and availability of the labor force.

There is a shortage of labor force in the US labor market due to the pandemic situation. A study showed that last year labor costs in the construction sector increased by 4.46% and are still on the rise.

4. Creek Bridge Type

You can build a pedestrian bridge, footbridge, ATV bridge, car bridge, or heavy truck bridge. A  temporary bridge for passing a small creek or a footbridge will cost you very low. But if you want to build a bridge for car traffic or heavy truck passing, it will increase your cost.

5. Creek Bridge Design and Safety

Normally while building a footbridge on public property you don’t need to follow National AASHTO Standards. But for building a heavyweight bridge, you must follow the National AASHTO Standard and keep safety parts in the design.

A professional civil engineer also can help us in the structural design part. Also, if you want to build a suspension bridge or a pilling-supported bridge, it will add extra cost to the total cost.

6. Creek Bridge Maintenance Cost

You have to maintain the bridge to keep it usable. It needs continued maintenance to keep the bridge usable for the walker and the vehicles. Wood bridges need regular check-up and it has a higher maintenance cost compared to others.

Probably, you’ve got a question about how much does it cost to maintain a creek bridge? Well, the FRP bridge has a low maintenance cost. Maintenance cost depends on the bridge size. A large bridge has a maintenance cost compared to a small bridge. Overall, you have to spend $1,600 to $3,100 every year for maintaining the bridge.

The surrounding environment, water level, average weather, smooth waterway, material carrying distance, etc are also some of the cost factors that may affect the cost directly.

Top 7 Golden Tips for Lower Your Creek Bridge Constructing Costs in 2022

Here are the seven most effective tips that may help you to save money on your Creek bridge-building cost.

  • Try to choose the bridge type according to your needs. If it is far from your house and doesn’t have that much use, you can choose a wood bridge or any normal bridge.
  • For long-lasting use, you can choose a Fiber Reinforced Polymer bridge. It may seem costly but it is very much durable. It will help you to save the maintenance cost.
  • Try to do the building job in the dry season. Wet soil makes it more difficult to install any frame over the creek and increases the overall cost.
  • The current supply chain and a labor shortage are increasing any type of building job. You may also work with the labor job and save some and use them for other purposes of the project.
  • Between wood and metal bridge, you should go for a metal bridge. Wood bridges may seem cost-friendly and better for short time use. But they can damage easily and you have to pay a lot to maintain a wooden bridge.
  • Don’t forget to get professional advice from a bridge engineer or civil engineer.
  • A bridge railing and approach railing weren’t required because it was a private bridge with low traffic volume.

A Step-by-step Process for Building a 16 Feet Long Wooden Creek Bridge With 10 Easy Steps

When you are appointed to make a wooden bridge as a contractor, you must know the overall process of how to build a bridge. You can easily direct the worker and inquiry about the project’s overall progress.

Here is the step-by-step process for building a 16 feet long wooden Creek bridge.

  • Step 1: First, you have to clear the space.
  • Step 2: Dig 3 holes in both ends. Each hole is 25 inches apart totaling 6 feet.
  • Step 3: Install three 4*4 poles in the hole. Tie string and lay another pole to make sure the middle 4*4 will be straight in line. fill dirt on the top of holes after ensuring you covered 16 feet.
  • Step 4: Pre-drill in the hole of the base woods and the poles. You need to have at least a 10-inch drill bit that matches your bolts.
  • Step 5: Use 18 eight-inch bolts to bolt 4*4 all three posts on both sides. Extend six, 16 foot 2*10’s treated poles across the bridge. You can save money by using 2*8 poles. Drill holes and put bolts on both sides. Make sure you hand tighten the bolts.
  • Step 6: Cut middle 4*4 off flat from both ends. Now take fifteen 2*6, 14-foot treated boards cut in half to 7 feet. The first board needs to be measured and cut perfectly to fit the flush. Use a 3-inch star hold to fix all boards. You can keep a gap between the boards. It will save lumber.
  • Step 8: Make sure to measure every board to have the exact overhang on each side. Measure and cut the last piece to fit perfectly on both sides, you might have a little overhang.
  • Step 9: You can add a side railing on the side and top of the 4*4 poles.
  • Step 10: Use number 7 rock with lime for the bridge entrance and exit.

Some Most Frequently Ask Questions About Building a Bridge Over a Creek: (FAQs)

What type of creek bridge can hold the most weight?

The weight held by any creek bridge can depend on the base of the bridge. From deck truss, arch, and beam bridge, the experiment says arch bridges can hold the maximum weight. The Beam bridge can hold less weight compared to the other two.

How much does it cost to build a 16-foot wood bridge over a creek?

A simple 16-foot wood creek bridge can cost you around $500 to $1,500 if you want to do it on your own. Professional or builder companies can charge more.

How much time does it take to build a creek wood bridge?

It does not take that much time. If you have all the equipment and materials in your, it can take 12 to 16 hours to build a small wooden creek bridge.

What is the average lifespan of a small creek bridge?

Wooden creek bridges can last on average 20 to 50 years depending on their use and the environment. Concrete and steel bridges can last around 50 to 75 years. Fiber Reinforced Polymer bridge is more durable. It can last more than 75 years.

What is the cheapest creek bridge to build?

It is a beam creek bridge. Simple beam bridges were the first type of bridge built. They remain the most affordable. To cover the span, all you need is a crossbeam supported by an abutment at each end. In a beam bridge, steel girders are used as reinforcement.

What type of wood is used for creek bridges?

The species of wood that are underutilized are often referred to as second-grade hardwoods in the United States. For wooden bridges, we need wood which are comparatively high strength and stiffness properties. So most of the bridge constructors use Douglas-fir and southern pine for this kind of bridge.

How long does a wooden creek bridge last?

Wooden creek bridges typically last between 20 and 30 years.

What type of creek bridge holds the most weight?

Straight bridges, or truss bridges, are the strongest creek bridge. When we were doing this project, we found out that straight bridges are some of the strongest bridges. Likewise, arched bridges are strong since they are reinforced at the ends, but truss bridge is usually stronger.

How long does it take to build a creek bridge over water?

Each creek bridge building project is different. Construction of our creek bridges can be significantly faster than that of steel or concrete bridges. To build a bridge over the water today, it would take one to three years using the best technology of this generation.

What are the three techniques of building creek bridges over water?

Three main creek bridge construction methods for deep water are battered piles, cofferdams, and caissons. They each have their own advantages and challenges.

What is the purpose of an arch creek bridge?

To support vertical loads, an arch bridge creek has the shape of an upward convex curved arch. The weight of a simple arch bridge is partially transferred into a horizontal thrust restrained by strong abutments on either side.

How long do creek suspension bridges last?

Some of these creek bridges are over 100 years old, including the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City. Another 70 years old is San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. The bridge should last at least 50 years.

“Last Cost-Benefit Analysis” for Constructing a Creek Bridge 2022

The construction of a bridge over a creek presents both economic and technical challenges. This article aims to provide a general overview of a bridge over a creek in a cost-effective way.

I hope this guide helps you build a bridge over a creek successfully. You can also find articles on building bridges and making a house a home on our website.

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