Cattle Guard Foundations

A cattle guard requires a solid foundation for a long-lasting installation. There is more than one way to create a secure the crossing and each one is site specific. A qualified contractor who is familiar with the local site and soil conditions such as freezing levels, drainage etc. should be consulted to ensure it’s properly designed and installed.

Examples of Cattle Guard Installations

cattle guard installation diagram  foundation diagram for a cattle guard installation

The cattle crossing itself is designed to be a livestock barrier that also allows vehicles to cross unimpeded. The weight, speed and changing momentum of traveling cars and trucks requires a solid installation.

A traditional foundation starts with a vaulted, or excavated area where the guard will be placed. The depth ensures debris won’t fill in between the top rails. It also provides an optical deterrent to crossing animals and allows for drainage beneath.

After the excavating process, cement footings are installed. They’re either poured on site or can be ordered and delivered with the flat, top rail grids.

Pre-cast Footings and Foundations

Below is a set of precast foundations with a flat rail cattle guard resting on top. You can see how they are ready to be lowered directly in the ground and are built to accommodate the cattle guard.

The precast footings have anchor bolts already poured in them. They’re ready to fit the pre-drilled holes on the bottom of the guard so they can be bolted down in the field.

heavy duty cattle guard with pre-cast foundations


Boxed Cattle Guards

Boxed cattle guards have a steel skirt welded around the perimeter. The skirt allows it to rest directly on the ground and prevents dirt from sliding into the area below the top rails. Dirt is typically built up and used as a ramp for vehicles on each end. They are very popular in driveways and low traffic or isolated areas that don’t have high-speed traffic.

cattle guard with a steel box welded to it

A real advantage to the skirt is that there is no excavating or digging required. It lays directly on the ground. They are very popular for use in construction sites as wash racks or rumble strips and can be taken from job to job.

For a proper installation, a bed of crushed gravel should be use for proper drainage and to help prevent the guard from sinking into the ground over time. A lot of customers will bury railroad ties and anchor the grid directly to them. This can help prevent movement as vehicles cross and prevent ‘creeping’ over time.


Every Site is Different

Remember that these large, one-piece steel structures take a real beating from crossing vehicles. The weight and changes in momentum require a solid foundation not only for support, but to also prevent movement.

A knowledgeable contractor should be consulted as each site has different circumstances and requirements for a successful, long-lasting installation. Freezing levels change throughout the country, each site has unique drainage requirements and even local building codes can come into play.

Make sure you installation is done right and if you have any questions, would like a quote with delivery to your site, please let us know.

Barn World | | 720.238.2190




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