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Sno-Trails Receives Bridge
Life Scout Builds Bridge for Eagle Project

Shane Morris, a Life Scout in BSA Troop 153 in St. Anthony, MN, completed a bridge project in Prior Lake to become an Eagle Scout.  To become an Eagle Scout, scouts must lead and manage a project that challenges their abilities, and must complete the project by their 18th birthday.

Shane was informed by Tom Nelson, an adult leader in the troop, of a snowmobile bridge that needed to be built.  After a previous project idea fell through, Shane traveled down to Prior Lake with his father and Mr. Nelson to assess the bridge and see what needed to be done, and was surprised by the state of the current bridge.  Half of the boards were rotten or full of holes, and there was a piling that stuck up about six inches out of the ground in the middle of the trail.  The shipping frame they had planned to use would be able to hold the weight, but not within the recommended safety factor.  Mr. Nelson was able to provide some used 8” I beams, which would provide a much better safety factor for the bridge.

Shane’s next step was to create blueprints for the new bridge.  Because they could not transport a 12 foot wide bridge to Prior Lake without special permits, they needed to create the main bridge 8 feet wide, and bolt 2 foot extensions to each side on site.  They also added cross braces to help prevent buckling.  They were able to create a budget very close to $1,600, and were ready to present the proposal to the Scott County Sno-Trails Association.  The board was happy to approve a bridge as long as the budget stayed around $2000.

Shane spent the next week welding the I-beams and cross braces together.  The I-beams were donated to the project by CATCO, and Steel Tech in Coon Rapids helped with the steel fabrication.  They were also able to acquire old railroad ties to use as cribbing from Minnesota Commercial Railroad.  Shane was able to recruit a few volunteers to prime, paint, and finish drilling the frame to get it ready for the sub deck.  The entire assembly process took about 6 hours, and they were ready to bring it to Prior Lake and attach it to the frame. While they had planned to have the sub-deck and top-deck all attached in the same day, they were unable to do so because the lumber wasn't ready.  They managed to get the bridge done over the next weekend.

On June 1st, Shane made the final presentation to the board of the Scott County Sno-Trails Association.  They were a little over budget because of some extra steel and the bridge decking.  The total cost for materials was around $2100, and another $1000 in donated materials was used.  A total of 345 man-hours were spent on the project.  Sno-Trails had to sign off that the bridge structure was complete to their satisfaction as a requirement for the Eagle project.  "Sno-Trails cannot thank this group enough for their hard work on this project," praised Terry Hutchinson, Sno-Trails, Inc. Trail Coordinator and MnUSA President.  "To have a group of city kids reach out to us to complete a project of this size goes to show that our youth will continue to protect our trails."  The bridge will be installed sometime this fall when the ground freezes.  

“I know how important it is for those of us that live in the city, to help out recreational organizations like Scott County Sno-Trails whenever we can,” stated Shane when describing the purpose of his project.  “Many of us who live in the city and use the snowmobile trails all over the state, never see or do, any of the hard work that the dedicated volunteers do to get the trails ready to use when we head out on the weekends.”

Shane would like to thank all the members of Troop 153, his family and friends, members of the Scott County Sno-Trails Association, especially Tim, Tony and Mike Verhoven, for helping him with this project.  He would also like to thank Mr. Nelson, for his assistance and coaching on the project.

On June 18th, Shane’s 18th birthday, he passed his Eagle Board of review.  Members of the board remarked that it was one of the most ambitions Eagle projects that they had seen.  Shane will receive his rank of Eagle at a special Eagle Court of Honor ceremony sometime in August.

1 - Old Bridge Open Item
2 - Work in Process Open Item
3- Completed Project Open Item

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