The Queensland Government will spend $46 million to replace 18 timber rail bridges on the North Coast line between Townsville and Cairns, in an aim to boost the safety and longevity of the line.
Transport minister Mark Bailey said the project would provide a welcome boost to the North Queensland construction industry, with upcoming opportunities to tender for the package of work.
Three tender packages will be awarded, with projects grouped according to the height of the bridges included, and the complexity of the replacement works required.
“Following the release of the tenders this month, we anticipate that the works will commence in September this year, and be progressively completed until late 2020,” Bailey said.
Queensland Rail will host an industry briefing for local businesses interested in tendering, in Townsville on April 26, and in Cairns on April 27.
“The elimination of these old timber bridges from the North Coast line will significantly improve the reliability of the line, and reduce required maintenance,” Queensland Rail chief executive Nick Easy said.
The bridges in question are located south of Cardwell to El Arish, and will be replaced with steel and concrete structures.
“The timber bridges currently require a high level of maintenance, due to the landscape of the area which is often subject to conditions such as flooding, alongside large outlays associated with the maintenance works and timber sourcing,” Easy said.
“The upgrade works will not only be a more cost-effective solution in the long-term, but improve the overall safety and reliability of our network.
“We are committed to providing our customers with a safe and reliable rail network, and improving our infrastructure through future-proofing initiatives such as the replacement of these timber bridges.”