In the forestry industry, moving heavy equipment through difficult terrain is a common occurrence. Creeks and streams wind through densely wooded areas, and these bodies of water present unique challenges to foresters who must cross them to get from point A to point B. Timber mats provide a versatile bridge solution for most stream crossings, giving foresters the means to transport their equipment safely and effectively. Learn how to build a bridge over a creek with the right materials before you get stuck in your tracks.


When choosing a method to cross streams efficiently, one of the most important factors to consider is environmental impact. An ideal bridge creates as little disruption to the surrounding natural ecosystem as possible. For a temporary transportation route, it should be possible to dismantle the bridge once the project is over, returning the surrounding habitat to its previous natural state.

Permanent bridges often cause habitat destruction due to their intrusive construction process. Filling, dredging, channel changes, vegetation removal and land clearing disrupt untouched environments and diminish water quality downstream. Timber mat bridges, in comparison, have much less of an impact on their surroundings. They do not create soil backfill and do not modify stream banks. When the route is no longer needed, the site returns to a pristine state.


Transporting the materials it takes to build a permanent bridge can be time-consuming and expensive. What’s more, the actual building process is sure to eat into a project timeline. A temporary structure, like a timber mat bridge, uses materials that are simple to transport and easy to install. Some bridges require pole fords for support, which are relatively lightweight and easy to arrange into place. These pipes lie just below the bridge’s surface and can be reused for future structures. Whether your overpass is made from Douglas fir, pure oak or mixed hardwoods, it’s possible to lift the wood with cables that expedite installation.

Once the bridge is in place, maintenance of timber mats is simple. This type of crossing uses materials that resist rotting, which leads to a lengthy service life. The structure itself is relatively simple, meaning there are less potential failure points. It only takes one unexpected bridge problem to cause significant downtime in the forestry industry, so this predictability can be a priceless advantage.


Portable timber bridges make getting around rugged environments easier, but this is just one application for these versatile support systems. If you’re wondering about other uses for timber mats, check out our blog post, “Timber Mats: Nature Conservation, Demolition & Other Uses in 2016-2017.” Whether you need to traverse wetlands or support a crane, timber mats make it possible.

For more information on using timber mats in wetland-type areas, contact our experts today.