November 29th, 2020 — New Bridge AND New Driveway??

As much as we support our micro neighborhood, we don’t feel comfortable investing $40k+ into the community bridge. We would much rather invest that much into our own bridge on our own property. But to do that, means we need to build a new driveway from the main road to our build site.

Today we hiked and sketched the most direct and cost-effective path across our acreage, keeping in mind our future rentals, Cronin Mountain HQ, parking area and the most desirable place for our own bridge across our creek.

Our new driveway will be just over a mile long, descending almost 700 ft from our future cabin down to the main road. And I can’t wait to line it all with aspen trees 😍.

This project will be absolutely humungous. We are slightly terrified but excited. We plan to DIY our driveway with our backhoe as much as we can….with most likely renting larger equipment as needed. New estimate on our own private bridge coming soon! So curious to see how the price might compare to build something brand new from scratch instead of replacing an existing structure. My guess—I think it will be cheaper. No demo fees, no trash hauling fees, plus the section of creek we choose for the bridge is about 2-3 feet wide (as opposed to 16 ft). We also can have a longer build timeline too. The community bridge needed a 48 hours or less construction time, but our private one can be built slower if needed. We will see!! 🙌🏼💪🏼


  • Kim MacLurgHow exciting!!
  • Diana Grover LarsenSounds like a great plan!!!
  • Amanda StilesYou guys are going to be able to plan and build your own town soon!
    • Rachel McCash CroninAmanda Stiles haha we actually have enough land to incorporate as our own town. We have to get approval from all our neighbors and do a lot of paperwork but it’s on our bucket list to get this done one day haha
  • Natalie HurtI am so excited to see this girl. ❤️💙💚
  • Michael T HooverThose curves in the road look sharp, is that Well equipment on whatever kind of truck it comes on going to be able to make those turns and climb 700 feet?
  • Michael T HooverA mile long road would probably cost a hundred thousand at least. There could be lots of opportunity for washouts… It could even be a 200, 000… Just off-the-cuff but I think a narrow trail going the same route might be fun for hiking … Going back to your original plan… Possibly You can create a long term build and maintenance fund for the original bridge and through the contract you can be compensated back for your payments that are above your share!
    • Rachel McCash CroninMichael T Hoover we bought a backhoe so equipment is “free”, we plan on doing all the labor, so that is “free” as well. I think the only permit is a driveway permit—which is just a few hundred dollars. Maintenance on the backhoe (oil, hydraulic fluid and fuel) I think will be our only costs, unless I’m missing something? The real kicker will be the time it will take—weeks and weeks lol. And this was a rough sketch—so no worries! It will definitely be compatible for the well rig and anything else we need it to do. 🙌🏼💗
    • Michael T HooverRachel McCash CroninUsually excavators are used… Are there trees that have to be cut… I helped with parts of an expansion on a road that was mostly flat and a mile long and the cost for the whole thing I think was 200, 000 … 700 feet drop is a lot… Are there big trees that have to come down? That’s a big deal, and roads need rock and gravel build up, and there could need to be Culverts put in for water drainage, through steep areas that cross the road… It would take probably fifty to a hundred trucks of gravel and probably months and months… I think a permit would be needed for the bridge also and maybe another impact permit… Anything to do with water even in private land I think is permitted… So if your heart really desires this road I would make a more detailed map similar to what you have and take into the account the things that you think would need to be done, and then take it to a road engineer and see what they think of it, just to get a better idea of the magnitude of what’s entailed, from the pros! So not asking them to do anything other than take a look at potential rudimentary plans just to see what they think? Then there’s the thought of the maintenance on a finished mile long road plus plowing snow in the winter… I would just look into it deeper… I think ideas can be exciting and grand but I think with larger projects acute calculations need to be taken into account… From the little I know ( cuz I always claim to know little unless I know almost everything about a subject) a mile-long road with 700 foot elevation is a Biiiiiig deal! 😉 … 😻
    • Rachel McCash CroninMichael T Hoover yes that’s all great info! This will be a “driveway” so we will look at rules for driveways and plan on making something similar to our current driveway. It’s 100% dirt up here. No gravel is up here anywhere. There is no gravel for our 9 mile access road, or our neighborhood roads either. It’s all dirt. So we do not plan on any gravel needs. We plan on making something similar to what we currently drive everyday—which is dirt. Culverts we may need. Our current driveway has a slope to it so water can drain off the side and there are no culverts. So we have a great example to go off of because this driveway has lasted over 20 years with minimal grading (which we’ve graded it ourselves) We are going ultra simple for this project. We plan on coordinating only with anyone needed to build a DIY driveway. Because the second you involve contractors, the cost dramatically goes up and things are added that are not needed. We cleared our own lot of 100 ft + trees, so we are confident in removing trees. This route is minimal tree removal and minimal rock removal. We are 2 year off grid veterans! 💪🏼 Snow plowing is easy up here too. Been plowing for years on our current dirt roads. No doubt it’s a huge project though! After 2 years learning about construction and experiencing so much ourselves, we totally get it. We may sell the back hoe too and look at getting a mini excavator or bobcat or something a little better fit. We’ve chatted about selling it for awhile now but projects keep coming up we could use it for haha
    • Michael T HooverI found this online but didn’t know how to send it so you can look it up, I thought it would be helpful: it looked pretty good to me… It is:A Landowner’s Guide To Building Forest Access Roads-USDA Forest Services.It’s about private roads not public and not for anyone else.
  • Shannon DonnaVery exciting! Sending good vibes and prayers!
  • Tatiana EvansI would be concerned about the liability of a DIY “driveway” since you’re wanting to go “public” with your property someday.Will this “driveway” be private exclusively to your family? Or will it be your main access road?With a 700ft drop (basically), I would be concerned about mudslides. It kind of reminds be of Fillmore St. but I don’t even think that is elevated to that grade level.I think I saw you post something about there being a natural habitat or something. How would you making your own driveway, affect that?
    • Tatiana EvansI find everything here so intriguing. So much you’re doing!
    • Tatiana EvansHave you thought about a partial DIY for replacement of the current neighborhood bridge? Like you’re doing with your home?
    • Rachel McCash CroninTatiana Evans yes it would be just for our family use only. I downloaded all the paperwork and plan on following all the driveway guidelines. Luckily the process looks much easier than all the steps for a bridge. 🤗 The way we hiked, the decline is not very steep at all aside from one switch back at the top. It kind of gradually slopes down through those last few acres on the map I posted. That entire section is 35 acres, so just for scale you can look at each little section as several acres of property. We know it’s a huge project for sure 💯
  • Jessica Kishsounds like a better plan. But a mile long on 35 acres seems like a lot.