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  1. #1
    just ride
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    Cost per mile?

    I sit on the board of directors for a local trail system with 300+ miles. We continually add singletrack, and we are on a mission to complete a connector with three existing loops that would give us a continuous 60 mile singletrack.

    From data in the past two years of building, it costs us around $2290 to $3300 per mile of built singletrack when you factor in all costs. The varying is due to human vs. machine built, which both cost, as we hire crews of HS kids in the summer.

    Is there anyone else that keeps track of such expenses? I am looking to see how we compare to other clubs on a cost per mile basis.
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  2. #2
    featherweight clydesdale
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    Your prices seem cheap if you're in fact paying for all the labor involved. Are these full bench cut trails or just trimmed, raked, and blown.

  3. #3
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    fully bench cut, IMBA standard
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by chequamagon
    I sit on the board of directors for a local trail system with 300+ miles. We continually add singletrack, and we are on a mission to complete a connector with three existing loops that would give us a continuous 60 mile singletrack.

    From data in the past two years of building, it costs us around $2290 to $3300 per mile of built singletrack when you factor in all costs. The varying is due to human vs. machine built, which both cost, as we hire crews of HS kids in the summer.

    Is there anyone else that keeps track of such expenses? I am looking to see how we compare to other clubs on a cost per mile basis.
    Your costs are really low. Extremely low.

    Must be alot of volunteer labor involved. And minimum wage labor as well.

    I just can't wrap my brain around 63 cents per foot singletrack for a full bench build to IMBA specs. Just maintaining and fueling the machines would come in close to that.

    These figures are almost stunning to me. I tend to think in the range of $10,000-$15,000 per mile depending on travel, lodging and the terrain in which the trail is being built.

  5. #5
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    also Wisconsin

    Using all volunteer labor we spent $1682 building 14 miles of Imba style bench cut trails. That is about $120 per mile or 2.27 cents per foot.

    The US Forest Service may have a differ number. I don't know their cost for the Nepa study and such. They also provided some carsonite signs ($500?).

  6. #6
    just ride
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    Our cost figures include both volunteer and paid labor. Paid is probably 75% of man hours, and we were paying $10 per hour.

    We were also hiring a machine and operator to provide bench cutting in many areas, probably half of the total trail miles were machine cut before being human finished.
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  7. #7
    Almost Human
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    Wow that's cheap!
    For contractor built trails I'm paying @ $2/ft for easy stuff to over $5/ft for difficult sections.

  8. #8
    featherweight clydesdale
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    Quote Originally Posted by chequamagon
    Our cost figures include both volunteer and paid labor. Paid is probably 75% of man hours, and we were paying $10 per hour.

    We were also hiring a machine and operator to provide bench cutting in many areas, probably half of the total trail miles were machine cut before being human finished.
    I'm with the other poster on $10k to $15k per mile, and certainly hear higher. Does your $2k-$3k range include design, and flagging. Maybe not having to feed and house a traveling crew has something to do with this.

  9. #9
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    numbers...

    5280 feet

    A good crew of five on 20% to 40% sideslope should be hand benching 200 feet a day average in rooty or semi - rocky soil. Full bench 3 foot tread.

    Okay, that is 26.4 days of straight building, let's say 25 for benefit of the doubt.

    25 days @ 8 hours a day = 200hours
    5 crew members @ 200 hours = 1000 man hours
    1000 man hours @ 10 dollars an hour = $10000

    This doesn't include design, tool cost and upkeep, EA's, or any other expenses.

    I am from the south so I feel like I can point the finger, something doesn't add up. Who is supervising? Where is their cost?

    10,000 to 15,000 is about as low ball as you can get in paid construction. There is a reason that is why the costs are what they are.

  10. #10
    just ride
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    There is always some volunteer labor in the mix, but by no means the majority. Our supervisor is a volunteer who is retired and loves to do it.

    On the other hand, we also have a retired lawyer who works on another section 25 miles away by himself at a rate of 230 hours per mile, including all flagging, cutting, etc. This is a fully bench cut, IMBA standard, 2 foot tread trail. Many of you know it as the Hildebrand loop at Rock Lake near Cable, WI.

    So if it is taking 1000 man hours per mile, either we have very different terrain types, or you might need a new crew. We have a very loamy "woodlands" type soil around here with about a 6" duff layer, and primarily sand and clay as the base. Not a lot of rock around here, but we do move a bit here and there for terrain feature.
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  11. #11
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    That seems very inexpensive, but there are so many factors for various areas.

    If you start adding in biological reviews and E.I.R.'s, the costs can get extremely high.

    I've seen them up in the 60K range before.....but that included a full E.I.R., easement recordings, and engineered bridges.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by JamR
    That seems very inexpensive, but there are so many factors for various areas.

    If you start adding in biological reviews and E.I.R.'s, the costs can get extremely high.

    I've seen them up in the 60K range before.....but that included a full E.I.R., easement recordings, and engineered bridges.

    Wow!

    We are talking MTB singletrack though right? Not Rail-Trail or wider things right?

    If singletrack, what is the need for for engineered bridges?
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  13. #13

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    Here in the hills the laborers are all volunteers working on singletrack. We've all been imba trained on how to use all the hand tools, and some of us have been trained to use the sk500, Sparrow for example.*shrug*

  14. #14
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    starting to understand your costs.

    Terrain. I did a little work in the Madison area and the terrain there does lend itself to Very Fast builds. You have simply to remove a small duff layer, then it is all fine and good for cutting. It is very similar to terrain in areas of Florida where a local club could build over half a mile with three or four people in a day.

    Your numbers make sense in what your expenses were out of pocket, but not the true expense of labor and materials. It would make sense for future budgeting, however to try and estimate for a fully contracted trail. That way if money is left over you can build on more small projects; and if volunteer numbers are not what you expected, you wont be left hanging.

    Perhaps budgeting up to around 5 grand is reasonable for your area and terrain type.

    Great example though of how different terrains can effect expenses.

  15. #15
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    All volunteer?

    Quote Originally Posted by chequamagon
    I sit on the board of directors for a local trail system with 300+ miles. We continually add singletrack, and we are on a mission to complete a connector with three existing loops that would give us a continuous 60 mile singletrack.

    From data in the past two years of building, it costs us around $2290 to $3300 per mile of built singletrack when you factor in all costs. The varying is due to human vs. machine built, which both cost, as we hire crews of HS kids in the summer.

    Is there anyone else that keeps track of such expenses? I am looking to see how we compare to other clubs on a cost per mile basis.
    Since we have close to a zero budget, I'm not sure how you would value our labor. It would not get done at all otherwise. I did get a grant to rent an SK500 last year. Probably about $3500 for 2 weeks of machine time to build 3 miles of trail. Say $4000 with gas. Very roughly $1300 per mile. No pay for the operator.

    Walt

  16. #16
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    What is the slope you are cutting your full bench into? In the Black Hills on "Moderate Terrain" cutting a 3ft bench we can complete about 80ft/hour (very little finish work needed) with the sk500 and by constrast hand built sections take 20-25 hours per 100 ft. We bid the project 2 years ago at about $1/foot-this will result in at best a "break even/minimal"scenerio" pending no problems. I will never submit another grant utilizing volunteer labor for less than $2/foot which will include rough corridor with clinos, final corridor, construction costs, and signage (not including Kiosk). If building is that easy in your area definately rent a ditch witch with a 6-way blade, your costs will decrease even more, triple your mileage with less labor, and result in far better trail. Good work!

  17. #17
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    Seems to vary so much with terrain. We hired a company to build about a mile or so of trail and it cost around 15k. But sections of the trail had to go across 30 to 40 slopes with rock ledge in sections. Rocks and steep slopes definatly add to the cost. Wisconsin sounds like a much easier place to build, plus we have decomposing granite and sand!
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt Dizzy
    Since we have close to a zero budget, I'm not sure how you would value our labor.

    Walt
    $18.77/hr

    http://www.independentsector.org/pro...teer_time.html

  19. #19
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    We are working on a large scale project, (300km) and estimating costs is a big factor in determining how much funding is needed to get each section done. We have developed a construction calculator which applies most of the major factors such as labour, supervisor, machine, truck, fuel, tools, and alsofactors in types of terrain, and conditions (sideslope, trail width, rocks, roots) and after a LOT of number crunching, you are looking at $5-$7/ft. We value volunteer time at $18/hr for showing in-kind contributions in grant applications. You can build trail for $1-$3/ft, but it will be a small crew working very quickly, and not spending any time routing, flagging, GPSing, brushing, or finishing.

    As far as rate of building, my crew of 6 worked for 6 months straight, building trail, and we averaged 300 ft/day in 6hours. This works out to around 600 man hours per mile. If you can do it faster than that, I'd say you have Jan Ullrich's doctor.

    With a Ditch Witch SK650, we were able to double productivity to 600ft/day or around 300 manhours per mile.

    Not sure if this helps

  20. #20
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    It depends on the terrain....

    It really depends on the terrain and soil so it's hard to estimate a fixed number. Being the smarmy sales shill that I am, I generally estimate $1.50 - $3.00/linear foot depending on the soil and terrain when I present cost estimates to Land Managers. That cost includes:

    - Design and Layout
    - Construction to IMBA/USFS trail standards

    It does not include maintenance which I estimate at $0.00 - $.50/linear foot again, depending on the soil and terrrain.

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