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View Full Version : Anyone ever built stairs into a river??


mcfetrid
06-21-2005, 09:45 AM
I was recently received a call to do an estimate for a customer that lives on a large piece of land that includes a pretty serious river. What he wants me to do is build him a patio on the bank above the river and then a rock staircase from the top of the bank down into the river. From the bank to the river is about an 8 foot 90 degree slope. The problem is that when it rains the river raises up all the way to the top of the bank, which would cover the stairs completely in water. Anyone have any ideas on how to build the stairs so they wont be swept away in the floods? Appreciate your help...Matt

Grassmechanic
06-21-2005, 10:52 AM
I was recently received a call to do an estimate for a customer that lives on a large piece of land that includes a pretty serious river. What he wants me to do is build him a patio on the bank above the river and then a rock staircase from the top of the bank down into the river. From the bank to the river is about an 8 foot 90 degree slope. The problem is that when it rains the river raises up all the way to the top of the bank, which would cover the stairs completely in water. Anyone have any ideas on how to build the stairs so they wont be swept away in the floods? Appreciate your help...Matt
You may want to check with your local Corps of Engineer Dept. and Building Depts. They may not even allow you to disturb the river bank without going through a bunch of BS paperwork and permits.

rick2752
06-21-2005, 04:28 PM
Just a thought, but if the front of each step was inset flush with the hill that might hold them. How large of stones are you gonna use? When we built a set we stacked each stone on top of the other, just farther back. I would think if you use pretty big rocks(300lb or bigger) and stacked them they would hold as long as the hillside did. I would most definitly get disclaimer signed though that you are not responsible for acts of mother nature!!

freddyc
06-21-2005, 05:14 PM
run away quickly from this one. Too many environmental concerns.

Kate Butler
06-21-2005, 10:47 PM
As long as your equipment is not in the river (much like the 'feet wet' immigration policy), you're likely ok. Ive done two things on my property: one of which required a water resources permit and walk through - the other didn't. The stairs did not need a permit because I had the equipment on the bank and I was in the water hauling and wrapping the chain and positioning the granite. The result was lovely until the flood of 1997 when a few of the smaller steps washed upriver (yes, I live where the rivers flow North). Rebuilt it with larger stones and have had no problems since (nor have we had a flood as bad since, either)

blkberry
06-24-2005, 01:37 PM
Don't even look at it without the appropriate engineering firm to help with all of the possible problems!!!!! :dizzy:

Mark A
06-27-2005, 06:22 AM
I happen to know a company in Eureka Springs and Berryville Arkansas that did an unbeleivable wall along a river. They did everything your talking about and a great deal more. The company name is Johnsons Landscaping or he may have changed it to Johnsons Nursery. His name is Lowell Johnson. I beleive they have a website. If you do some searching you will probably find it.

Grounds Control
06-29-2005, 09:49 PM
i'll throw this out there......

you may want to tie the stairs into the earth with geogrid and use fabric to help with water (erotion)

memich
03-23-2012, 12:27 PM
HI Kate, would you have any photos of your river steps. We have a cabin in WV and need to do something similar this summer

Kate Butler
03-23-2012, 01:38 PM
Here's the pic of my waterstairs.

memich
03-23-2012, 01:53 PM
Thanks Kate they really look great

crazymike
03-23-2012, 05:54 PM
here are my steps.

We redid the entire wall 2 years ago. It literally took an entire summer to get the permits. You only have a small window to work here when the water is down.

You can't use any artificial stone or concrete. Any baskets you use for the gabion have to be PVC coated.

When building the wall, we had a neighbor call fisheries on us. Which meant a stop work order until they came down, during hunting season, to tell us that everything was fine.

I priced out a wall for the neighbor. By the time the permits came through, her son thought he could do it cheaper. He decided to cut out there old concrete wall and dump it in the lake. Have yet to hear what happened when he got caught doing that.

It's hard to tell what the stairs are under the dock ramp, but they are natural stone slabs on top of an old concrete base.

Further down I have more stairs that natural stone slabs sitting on top of gabion baskets. They are tied into the baskets.

The slabs on the concrete stairs did move once when the lake went down before the ice melted, I was able to move them back with a rock bar.

I will try to get some pictures of the construction for you.

crazymike
03-23-2012, 06:01 PM
hard to see here, but it's gabion stone on top of filter cloth.

Every few years it needs to be restacked/cleaned up because our lake has quite a bit of movement.

It's cheapest natural way you are allowed to do it.

Another alternative is to put gabion stone in baskets and stack armor stone on top.

This works for walls, or just steps.