Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Brushy Mtn Tunnel Flood Control

Note: click images for larger view.


Update 20141030: Terrain image from Google Maps Engine. Highlighted area shows the approximate area of the North Basin discussed below.

NorthBasin-terrain

NorthBasin-terrain


As most Silver Comet Trail cyclists know, it has been a problem keeping the mud and water out of the Brushy Mtn train tunnel. When we started our clean-up efforts the tunnel was flooded with mud and water. When I began my work at the tunnel, one of my first projects, I investigated the source of the runoff at the east end of the tunnel. Since the tunnel is cut into the rock of the mountain it is a long hike from the trail to the areas near the tunnel entrances, so I decided to start from the road above the tunnel.  You can read about that here.

I found that a large area of many acres drained into a basin, North of the East entrance to the tunnel. The water that was flooding the east end the tunnel was coming from a hole in the wall of a natural basin (perhaps a sink hole). Over the last few years I’ve been thinking how best to control the water and sediment that is carried down and filling the water retention pond. I tried silt fences, this did slow the water, but not effective at eliminating the erosion of the 150 ft long channel that feeds into the the tunnel “cut” from this “natural” dam.

This Friday I attempted to create a solution. Leonard, the guy that works for Jim Brannon came out to help. We dropped the bulk of our gear from Brush Mtn Rd at at point that we hoped would be near the basin. Then drove the trail, parked East of the tunnel and hiked to the the work location. After some searching (I had made a good guess for the drop point) we located the dropped gear at the west rim of the basin. Our first chore was to clean out debris and the existing silt fence. Our plan was good, I brought a post-hole-digger to help “open the channel” under bank where the water flowed. Leonard from the basin side, me from the channel side, we dug from both sides. The bank was about 15-16 ft wide, wider than I remembered. I was skeptical that we would be successful. I worked for 1/2 hour and was able to get the 10 ft section of 4″ drain line through up to my shoulder. That was amazing. Leonard could see the end! We attached the 50 ft section of drain line and attempted to “snake” it through. Our first attempt me pushing and Leonard coaxing from the opposite side, failed. The ten ft section came loose, but it was close. After some work Leonard could see the end of the drain line. He manged to grab it with post-hole-digger and pull it through. Eureka, we had manged to get the 4 inch drain line through this 15 ft earth chasm!
Now we began the process of attempting to seal the chasm around the drain line. I brought thick foam, which we packed in around the drain line. Then silt fence fabric, rock on top of that. Wish we had more rock, but rock was scarce in this area. Then dirt, another layer of silt fence fabric, sticks and branches to hold that, then lots of dirt.



Fortunately, the bank over the area where we were working was soft dirt. Leonard worked really hard piling in more dirt. Then a layer of plastic screen and more dirt.

We covered the dirt with a layer of leaves and branches to help hold the leaves in place. Hopefully, this will control the rain water and eliminate most of the sediment that fills the retention pond. The next phase is to add an additional 100 ft of drainline and this will complete the 150 ft run to carry the water to the trail cut and eliminate the heavy sedimentation from erosional processes. South edge of the basin.

Brushy Mtn Tunnel Ponds

Background: The east pond at the Brushy Mtn tunnel on the Silver Comet Trail is critical to keeping the tunnel dry and more importantly, mud out of the tunnel. If the east pond fills, everything drains to the tunnel. Late spring Jim I removed what sludge we could with his tractor. That effort has resulted in a dry tunnel, but it wouldn’t last long.

For several months (actually longer) I’ve been trying to find county resources or donated services for an excavator to clean out the retention pond at the east end of the Brushy Mtn tunnel. I had about given up. I mentioned on a facebook post that Jim and I do most of the work cleaning the trail. Hearing this, one of our riders, Joe Crane asked if he could help. Joe has a large backhoe and he volunteered to help at the tunnel.
Recent dry weather had left the ponds as dry as they were going to be. We were able to get everything together this Saturday. We put in a very long day, Joe running the backhoe and digging, then dumping into Jim’s tractor bucket and hauled off. Me I got to do all the labor of using a hoe to pull the load into the bucket and distributing evenly; removing the excess so it didn’t slop-down onto the trail when Jim hauled it off. While Jim was transporting I was shoveling and cleaning the mess that didn’t make the bucket. It was a tough day for me, I was beat.
Good news is, we got it done. We cleaned out both ponds and replaced the large barrier rocks at the east pond. So what was a favorite of many riders, to stop at the pond on the west end of the tunnel has now been restored. By the end of the day Saturday the steady flow of ground water had nearly filled the west pond.

A huge Thank You to Joe Crane and Jim Brannon. Joe running his backhoe and Jim doing all the hauling with his tractor. We were able to clear both ponds at the Brushy Mtn tunnel. They worked hard and made a difference.

Note: click images for larger view.

Loading the bucket on Jim's tractor.

Joe running the backhoe, Jim in the tractor.

East pond after clean-up, pooling water.

West pond after clean-out, nearly full.

Trail Road Crossing Safety

This was a response to Scott on the atlbike.org forums: http://atlbike.org/index.php?name=PNphpBB2&file=viewtopic&p=57489#57489

I think the primary key to safe intersections is visibility.
I’ve done a significant amount of work to try and improve the safety of the intersections we use frequently. With fairly dramatic results.
http://atlbike.org/blog/20140728/trail-road-intersections-trimming-july-2014-part-1/

Most of us try to slow to a safe speed and look for cars; we are using your “rolling” method.
Also, I don’t like to make cars stop, if I don’t have too. So, I will usually wait for traffic to clear, rather than pushing a button.
Having said that, the intersection that seems to work the best (IMO) is the ONLY trail intersection with a vehicle STOP. That is in Hiram intersection on Depot Rd (the caboose).
The relatively new crossing lights at Rosedale Rd is a good re-design of an inherited design problem. These flashing lights are VERY effective.

Sadly, many riders seem to like the roll of the dice and shoot through intersections.
Forrest and I track the incidents we’ve seen: Vehicles:6, Triathletes:0
Again, sadly for some reason, it appears that bikes equipped with aerobars are the problem ( it couldn’t be the rider, right? ).
The exception, now is the bike ridden by Mr Perkins, it was a standard drop bar road bike ( one reason I wanted to see a picture of the bike ).
The stat is now, sadly: Vehicles:7, cyclists:0. Morbid as some may find this, it is the reality of our situation as cyclists. We never win, we strive to break-even in the world of bike vs. vehicles.

My thoughts:
1) a reduced signed/posted vehicle speed limit at all trail crossings ( like a school zone ).
2) a vehicle STOP or light (like Rosedale) at ALL trail crossing where visibility or vehicle speed can’t be effectively managed.
3) Bike speed zones at trail heads and crossings.
4) Special hazardous zone markings painted ON the trail where appropriate.
5) a safety assessment for each crossing and visibility improvement projects where required.

Using the old reliable 80/20 rule, these actions will likely fix 80% of the incidents related to road crossings, also hopefully reducing the severity of accidents that do occur. Of course people are creative and some will view this as an enhanced opportunity to blow-thru intersections. Some folks just aren’t wired right, that can’t be helped, ticketing and peer pressure can be an effective cure within the posted and marked areas.

Tunnel clean-up and Verizon cable damage.

    Tunnel Clean-Up

I was planning a Spring Tunnel Clean-up Day, but thanks to our friend Jim Brannon aka “Santa”, it won’t be necessary. Jim organized the work Friday, with his little “Green Tractor” and the help of two young men, Lance and Christian donating time for their Community Service. Lance and Christian cleared the drains, squeegeed the accumulated water, then swept and blew out the entire tunnel. The tunnel was looking a bit shabby after our long winter and with the current higher humidity, water was already starting to accumulate in the tunnel. By the next day the tunnel was looking great.

Tunnel Clean-up.

Tunnel Clean-up.

I arrived a bit later and helped with cleaning up the leaves, rock and debris along the North side of the west entrance and in the rock sitting area. I don’t know how many times we filled up the bucket of Jim’s tractor, but I bet it was at least a dozen…(I should have gotten a picture). I did get some picture the next day.

Tunnel, West Entrance.

Tunnel, West Entrance.

Rock sitting area.

Rock sitting area.

Verizon Cable Replacement
During the recent storm the Verizon fiber segment between Mc Pherson Church Rd and the Brushy Mountain Tunnel was struck by lightning three times requiring replacement of the cable. I went up Friday to see what they were doing and to make sure they planned on restoring the drainage. I don’t like mud on the trail.

Verizon cable replacement.

Verizon cable replacement.

Trail flooding, debris and washout.

We’ve run the trail blower > 370 miles for 2011.
I was able to run the trail blower Thursday and Friday, for 100 miles. Due to recent heavy rains in the Rockmart area, several of the sections were flooded and others had excessive washout of silt and rock. Rains were so heavy the river rose sufficiently to deposit silt on the Silver Comet Trail bridge over the river in Rockmart. Silting was very heavy in sections of the river walk in Rockmart too. Sections of the trail east and west of Rockmart were still flooded. Debris washout was so heavy in some areas that a torrent took down farm fencing, which was propped back into place. I suspect this area encountered a micro burst as many branches were broken from trees too.

Flood damaged fence.

Flood damaged fence and debris.

Flooding at a narrow section of the trail west of the Atlanta Rd over-crossing was covering the trail. Debris accumulation was forcing the water over the trail.

Trail flooding west of the Atlanta Rd crossing.

Trail flooding west of the Atlanta Rd crossing.

Thursday, I shoveled the debris clear allowing the water to drain along the trail.  When I returned  Friday the section was dry (one damp spot).  I used the trail blower to clear the debris and silt.  This is how that trail section looked late Friday.  Viewed from the opposite direction, also note the effective drainage on the right in the section that Jim Brannon had cleared with his tractor.

Cleaned section west of the Atlanta Rd over-crossing.

Cleaned section west of the Atlanta Rd over-crossing.

The trail entrance to the tunnel under GA Hwy6 at the junction with US278 was covered with  mud,  again.  I shot a video expressing my thoughts about the poor drainage design.

embedded by Embedded Video

YouTube Direkt

The low section of the trail between US278 and Old Cedartown was flooded at several points.  Debris dams were preventing runoff, plus work needs to be done to improve drainage.  I shot a video here too…  you can see how much water was flowing across here after a removed a portion of the debris dam.  The cyclist riding through “the pond” was not staged.

embedded by Embedded Video

YouTube Direkt

After cleaning the remainder of the trail to Alabama and returning, much of the water had drained.  The pool was much smaller and there was almost a rideable margin.

Flooded section, slightly improved.

Flooded section, slightly improved.

Past Landfill hill there was a lot of rock washout from the rain.  Lots of rock and gravel dried into the mud.  It took a lot of shoveling and broom work to break it loose for the blower to clean-up.  The upper section did have some large rocks which would be very dangerous on a descent.

Rock washout west of Landfill Hill.

Rock washout west of Landfill Hill.

Fortunately, the section west of Cedartown wasn’t nearly as bad.  Nothing that required special attention with a shovel or broom.  It was a long hard day of work, but I did get to eat dinner at Frankie’s and Jim Brannon picked up the tab.

Thanks Jim!

Return top