Floating a walking bridge over swamp should work

Q. The driveway to my summer cabin has collapsed. Some 2,000 cubic yards of fill are required to repair it correctly, since it runs through wet land. I also wish to construct a small walking bridge over the swamp and plan to float the bridge on 55-gallon drums, hoping the winter ice will not destroy them. In your opinion, will the drums buckle? What paint should I use on the drums so as the inhibit rust? The Rev. Gennaro L. Gentile Marlboro, N.Y.

A. Sandblast the barrels down to bright metal. Then apply two heavy coats of catalyzed epoxy primer. Follow the label directions very carefully, especially as to recoating timing, which varies from one epoxy manufacturer to another.

After you apply the second coat, apply two coats of catalyzed enamel.

Epoxy finishes have a tendency to chalk on exposure to the weather, but they still represent about the most corrosive-resistant finish there is.

One university ice expert says he believes there is no danger of the drums buckling when the water freezes. Rather, he predicts the drums will rise onto the surface as freezing occurs, particularly if the swamp is shallow.In other words, it is his opinion that when the water freezes, it will tend to expand by riding up on the swamp's flat bank rather than crushing the drums.

Note: Ascertain the cost of the 2,000 cubic yards of fill in place that you say is required in order to build up the old drive. Determine the method as well as the cost of labor and materials for the walking bridge across the swamp.

You should compare two figures. Equate lonevity and service of each method. Then decide which route to follow.

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