NORTON — The sounds of electric screwdrivers could be heard through the woods at Everett Leonard Park on Saturday morning as an Eagle Scout launched the construction of a new bridge for the walking trail.
With nearly a dozen volunteers at his side, 15-year-old Brandon Barrick of Norton saw two years’ worth of planning form, piece by piece, into a new bridge measuring 16 feet long and 5 feet wide, thus enabling hikers on the trail to safely cross a stream.
The idea to construct a new bridge was already in Barrick’s mind after his older brother, Andrew, completed another small foot bridge for his own Eagle Scout project in 2015.
Many hikers knew of the risks one took to cross the stream, maneuvering across two telephone poles that served as planks.
“People said it was kind of sketchy to get across,” Barrick said.
With the help of a structural engineer, Barrick was able to bring the idea for his project to fruition.
As the morning progressed, the pile of half-inch carriage bolts, pressure-treated deck boards and numerous screws found their way into the the creation of the new bridge. Meanwhile, other volunteers were at work with hedge clippers to clear away the overgrowth on the trail.
“It’s like a really big Lego set,” Barrick observed during the construction. “You do it a step at a time.”
Overseeing the work of Barrick and the other volunteers was Rehoboth handyman John Morrish of L&J Services, LLC.
Morrish, wearing knee-high wading boots, stood in the creek while configuring how the planks and boards were to be placed, standing 20 inches above the water.
Once a few boards were in place for the flooring, Barrick was able to stand on them and secure them with the necessary screws under Morrish’s watchful eye.
“You want it just like that, barely under the surface,” Morrish instructed Barrick as he drilled the screws into the boards, anchoring them into place.
A ramp will also be added to both sides of the bridge in the near future.
Barrick’s parents, Brad and Melanie, as well as Andrew Barrick, were also on hand to assist.
Melanie Barrick said that while trying to come up with an idea for his Eagle Scout project, Brandon’s first thoughts were of fixing the bleachers in Burchill Baseball Field or leveling the soccer field behind Norton Middle School.
“But, when it came time to nail it down, this was the right thing to do,” Melanie Barrick said.
Both parents were proud of both sons for their efforts in maintaining and taking care of the park, and Brandon was able to take pride in his work, as well.
“It’s something that was used, and is going to be used,” he said.