Timber Bridges by Bridge Builders USA, Inc.

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Observation Tower Construction

Timber Bridge Builders - Bridge Builders USA, Inc.Once having mastered over and across, where do you go? Up, of course! And that’s exactly where Bridge Builders is headed with its timber-frame observation tower construction.

Observation and Rappelling Tower Construction“Building a tower is like putting together a huge, three-dimensional puzzle,” says Jim Collins, Bridge Builders’ senior crew chief. Although the company uses the same skills and takes the same environmentally conscious approach for towers as it does for bridges, adding elevation to timber construction increases the challenge – and adds to the pleasure Collins takes in his job.

Versatility, durability, aesthetics and cost are reasons frequently cited for choosing timber-frame towers over concrete or steel. The military training tower that Bridge Builders constructed at Camp LeJune exemplifies the versatility and the strength of wood: The 40-foot tower simulates conditions requiring rappelling skills that marines may encounter, while various anchor points in the structure each supports a 5,000-pound load.

Wood flexes, adding resiliency to observation towers under windy conditions, but the beauty of wood may be a more compelling reason for selecting timber-frame construction in natural environments. The aesthetic of timber construction encompasses a green philosophy: Bridge Builders’ environmental concern is not only to build with the least possible impact on the landscape, but to use materials that are renewable and environmentally sound.

That the bottom line tilts the decision toward timber-frame construction “seals the deal” for many developers, landscape architects, state park planners, outdoor recreation and training facility designers – the myriad people who need to build up safely and economically and who want to build up beautifully and with respect for the environment. Looking for inventive engineering, solid construction experience, and enthusiasm for solving the big puzzle of timber-frame tower construction, these clients choose Bridge Builders.


MARSOC (Marine Corp Special Operation Command) – Camp Lejeune, NC

Observation and Rappelling Tower Construction - MARSOC TowerLocated in the Marine Corp Base Camp Lejeune. Camp Lejeune trains thousands of Marine Corp soldiers every year on their now 156,000 acre base that saw its first Marine Division in September of 1941. Since the first buildings of the tobacco barn, farm house, and the temporary tents Camp Lejeune has grown into what it is today.

In 2010 Bridge Builders were honored to continue working in Camp Lejeune with the build of the forty foot tall rappelling tower. The tower consists of one Urban wall, a rock wall, and tow other rappelling walls to simulate various field situations.

This is Bridge Builders third project at MARSOC. In 2009 Bridge Builders was approached by the nationally respected Whiting-Turner Company, to provide an option for a 260′ highly Rappelling Tower Construction at MARSOCsensitive coastal wetland for the MARSOC facility at Camp Lejeune, NC. Bridge Builders successfully designed and installed a 260′ HS20 Timber Vehicular Bridge with an attached pedestrian walkway.

The entire structure was built from deck-level. All clearing and construction was carefully done progressively across the wetlands. This military project required strict compliance with safety, logistic, and operations requirements set forth by the Federal Government and United States Department of Defense. Our success on this bridge project led to an award for design and construction of a separate military obstacle course (also completed in 2009).

Relevant Project Elements:

  • Land Surveying
  • Geotechnical Investigation
  • Design and construction of Military Training Facility
  • Preparation of Plans and Specifications
  • Compliance with Federal Government and US Dept. of Defense protocol.
  • Cost effective, aesthetic, and very minimal impact


Robinson Preserve – Bradenton, FL

Observation Tower Construction - Robinson PreserveSponsored in part by the Manatee County Conservation Land Management, Robinson Preserve opened to the public July of 2008, offering a 487-acre preserve featuring a variety of coastal habitats including rare salt marsh and coastal ecosystems. Only 10 acres of the preserve are considered “uplands”.

Manatee County purchased Robinson Preserve for a discounted $10 million, with $6.4 million of the expense paid with Florida Communities Trust money and the remaining cost covered by county taxpayer funds dedicated to preservation. Restoration in large part was accomplished with grants from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the Southwest Florida Water Management District and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Bridge Builders was honored with the invitation to design and build three (3) HS20 bridges, 1500+ linear feet of boardwalk, and the preserve’s distinguished landmark – the observation tower. Completing this project required extensive consideration of the sensitive coastal lands, as well as the mangrove and wildlife habitations; literally at the mouth of Tampa Bay.

Observation Tower Construction - Robinson PreserveThe 58′ observation tower built in the middle of a tidal flat was a first for Bridge Builders. Poor soil conditions and wind load requirements were design challenges that were overcome with great success. This project established incredible client relationships that have lead to more projects currently in-process throughout Manatee County.

Relevant Project Elements:

  • Land Surveying
  • Geotechnical Investigation
  • Bridge Design
  • Environmental Compliance
  • Preparation of Plans and Specifications for multiple bridges, boardwalks and a 58′ observation tower


Neal Preserve – Bradenton, FL

Observation Tower Construction at Neal PreserveThe construction of a 20′ observation tower in Neal Preserve was the second tower construction project by BridgeBuilders USA, Inc. in Manatee County, FL.

The goal of Neal Preserve is to preserve and protect an ancient Calusa Indian site, dating back to the 11th century and providing insights into one of the first civilizations in this area. The preserve was a 117-acre land donation from the Pat Neal family on the southern end of Perico Island. Due to the environmentally and archeologically sensitive area, the project presented several challenges.

Since the tower site was situated in a low lying area and at the tip of an island in close proximity to water, the foundations piles were set using a vibratory hammer mounted on heavy equipment. All soil moved on the tower site had to be sifted for artifacts resulting in the find of an arrowhead dated to 1200 BC.

Observation Tower Construction at Neal PreserveThe tower features a central stairway and covered observation platform. The addition of the observation tower to Neal Preserve is part of the scope of the overall plan by the Manatee County Natural Resources Department which will allow the county to preserve an irreplaceable alignment of coastal habitats in lower Tampa Bay.

Relevant Project Elements:

  • Land Surveying
  • Geotechnical Investigation
  • Archeological Investigation
  • Environmental Compliance
  • Preparation of Plans and Specifications for 20′ observation tower

View addition photos of our tower construction projects here

Testimonial - Bridge Builders USA, Inc.

Bridge Builders has worked for us on many golf course construction projects over the last 15 years. They are our contractor of choice for any type of wood construction: bridges, retaining walls, boardwalks, specialty forming, and structural support systems.

No one performs better than Bridge Builders!

They are always on time, always within the budget they proposed, and the quality of their work is always unsurpassed. Our clients are always grateful that we brought Bridge Builders on to their projects.

The management and staff of Bridge Builders are always professional, courteous, cooperative, helpful and a pleasure to work with. They go the extra mile to make everything work out correctly. The result of their work speaks for itself – a work of art.

I have personally known the owners of the company for over 22 years; they are very good and honest people. Their reputation is impeccable. I highly recommend Bridge Builders USA to any discriminating client.

Jeffrey Stein
Shapemasters Golf Course Builder