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Decks

Trail bridge decks are often constructed with the same, or similar, material as the rest of the bridge. Most trail bridge decks (and rail systems) are timber. Treat the timber with an appropriate chemical to extend its life. Heavy oil preservatives should usually not be used for pedestrian decks because the treatment chemicals, as well as the oil solvent, will get on skin and clothing. Waterborne treatments fixate, or bond, with the wood and will not "rub off." The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) worked with pesticide manufacturers to voluntarily phase out chromated copper arsenate (CCA) use for wood products around the home and in children’s play areas. Effective December 31, 2003, no wood treater or manufacture may treat wood with CCA for residential uses (with exceptions). Please refer to the report Preservative-Treated Wood and Alternative Products in the Forest Service (Username: t-d, Password: t-d).

Care should also be taken to provide a deck surface that does not become slick from use, particularly if the bridge has equestrian traffic and is on a grade. Timber cleats, rubber matting, or other wearing surfaces can be used to increase traction.

Decks and rail systems are more visible than bridge load carrying members and abutments. A bridge will better fit natural and primitive Recreation Opportunity Spectrum classes if natural materials are used in the deck and rail systems.