Draining the Creek Crossing

Long-suffering readers of this blog will remember that I have spent a lot of time over the years working on the creek crossing at the bottom of my access road. Since the last road rebuild, a lot of wash has come down from the neighbouring farm, and has eroded both the road and the causeway. In addition, my neighbours have dammed the winter creek upstream for their sheep, which changed the character of the creek from slow seepage to a more continual flow. I needed to install some drainage pipes to protect the road surface.

One fine weekend, I arrived on site with a trailer-load of drainage pipes, and a digger from Mal’s Hire. In preparation for the delivery of several truck-loads of material from Duggan’s Quarry, my daughter had painted up a lot of helpful signs. I doubt that the quarry drivers were accustomed to such artistry, but they certainly obeyed the instructions.

The creek crossing was originally built about ten years ago using a base layer of tree trunks, then aggregate, then soil. It has worked well for most of this time, but a combination of clay filtering down into the wooden sublayer and increased water flow from the neighbouring farm’s new dams, has meant that some water runs over the top and has a tendency to wash away the surface of the road.

Digging away the substrate by hand would have been a thankless task, but the digger made it easy.

Before long, I dropped in some drainage pipes, and got instant gratification in the form of the creek diverting through the pipe and out onto my property.

I finished off with 20mm drainage aggregate, and made good with excess mud and stone. It was still pretty boggy – after all, the mud was already saturated – but I left it alone to give it a chance to dry.

That night, I put up my tent and cooked myself a nice supper by the fire.

On the following day, I had other things to do with the digger, so it wasn’t til later that I got to have a look at the creek crossing.

It was still boggy.

This was when I discovered that there was a second flow of water coming down from another new dam in the farm next door. It was running invisibly under the ferns and then draining across the creek crossing, slightly higher up the slope. I couldn’t see it before, because the whole thing was wet, but now that the bottom half had drained, it was obvious.

It was far too wet to bring in the digger, which would have just churned everything up, so a couple of us dug out a rough new ditch by hand.

It originally looked like a seep, but once we’d dug a channel, there was a significant amount of water, which we lead down to the drainage pipe that I’d put in the day before.

The ditch is a bit impromptu and unlined, but I didn’t really want to start landscaping on my neighbour’s side of the road, and anyway we were tired.

Four months later, it was looking just fine.

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