This important program of works will see a wide variety of repairs and safeguarding works carried out on the Burdekin River Bridge, including:
- patch-painting and spot-welding on sections of the bridge, in preparation for total repainting
- structural repairs to the bridge
- installation of new link beams (a link beam is the segment of a beam between a brace and a column on the bridge) to enable future maintenance works to be completed more quickly
- sandblasting of rusted areas
- re-asphalting and new line-marking on the road approaches to the bridge
- internal and external inspections of the bridge piers
- cleaning and inspection of the pedestrian walkway
- a full lighting assessment on the bridge
- testing and replacing of extension joints.
The safety of road users is the department’s number one priority. Full bridge closures are required from time to time to ensure that both motorists and workers on the bridge are always kept safe. Often, the sheer size of the machinery required for these works means that there is not sufficient room for other vehicles to cross the bridge and it must be closed to traffic when this equipment is in use. These full closures are usually undertaken at night to take advantage of the lowest traffic demand on the road.
Full bridge closures will be programmed throughout the year to allow for these larger and more complex works to be completed. Closures will be scheduled where possible for Sunday nights between 9pm and 4am.
Day to day works
Maintenance works don’t just happen on the bridge at night. In fact, there are a number of smaller maintenance works happening on the bridge every day. These works usually involve patch painting, spot welding and inspections on various parts of the bridge.
Sometimes, these works require single lane closures, or short term (15 minutes) full closures. These works will usually occur from Monday to Friday from 6am to 6pm. If you are travelling via the Burdekin River Bridge during these hours, make sure you allow extra travel time in case of delays due to these maintenance works.
Burdekin River Bridge Facts
- Construction of the Burdekin River Bridge was completed in 1957. The Burdekin River Bridge maintenance and rehabilitation project is the first major structural rehabilitation work undertaken since its construction.
- During construction of the Burdekin River Bridge, 235 people were employed at any one time with more than 300,000 high strength bolts and 7000 tonnes of steel being used.
- The Burdekin River Bridge is only 46 metres shorter in length than the Sydney Harbour Bridge and comprises 10 main spans (each 250 feet) and 22 approach spans with a total length of approximately 3620 feet (1103m).
- The Burdekin River Bridge is an important link in the national transportation network and is a strategic, high flood immunity link between north and south Queensland.
- The alternate road route to Townsville via Mount Coolon-Belyando-Charters Towers is 355km longer with some sections of unsealed road.
- Over 7000 vehicles cross the Burdekin River Bridge each day.
- On Tuesday 5 October 2010, the Burdekin River Bridge received an Engineering Heritage National Landmark award from Engineers Australia. This award recognises significant engineering heritage works that have been judged to be valuable to a group of people, or have contributed something of value to the nation, a region or to the practice of engineering.
Following regular lighting disruptions and high maintenance costs, the department began a trial of LED lighting on the Burdekin River Bridge in early 2016. This represents the first Transport and Main Roads bridge infrastructure in Queensland to have LED lighting.
Previous incandescent lighting had to be replaced regularly due to vibration from the high daily vehicle volumes across the bridge.
The new LED lighting has a longer life span given the traffic vibrations, and has also been found to be more visible to motorists during adverse weather conditions and at night.
Based on the results of the trial, the department has continued to install LED lighting in lamps and posts on approach to the bridge.