Contractors are being asked to tender for nearly $9 million of rail bridge upgrade work on Queensland’s Central West line.
The Palaszczuk Government has launched the third stage of its program to replace, repair and upgrade ageing timber rail bridges on the line, with a set of tenders worth $8.8 million to replace up to 18 bridges, and 69 bridge piers with more durable structures.
Transport minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the Labor Government was committed to providing a safe and reliable network.
“Some of these timber bridges are more than 100 years of age and they have passed their design life and are in need of replacement or upgrade,” the minister said.
“By replacing or upgrading the bridges with steel and concrete structures, we will not only improve their reliability but also minimise the time and cost spent on maintenance.”
Queensland Rail, which issued the tender on August 12, held a presentation for interested parties on August 24 in Brisbane.
The tender is open until Monday, September 12.
Agriculture minister Leanne Donaldson said the government wasn’t expecting the project to be finished until June 2018.
“In 2013, we embarked on stage one of the Central West Bridge Replacement program, which saw 49 timber bridges either replaced or repaired,” Donaldson explained.
“Stage two, which was completed last year, saw a further 23 bridges replaced or upgraded between Clermont, Emerald and Winton.
“Upon completion of stage three, the state government will have invested more than $47 million in upgrading Central West line bridges.”
The Central West line, which is administered by Queensland Rail, adjoins Aurizon’s Blackwater system at Emerald, and runs to Hughenden, via Longreach and Winton, over a distance of roughly 780 kilometres.
The earliest portions of the line were opened in the 1860s.
“Each year approximately 600 trains travel on the Central West line, including both passenger and freight services, which also support the local tourism economy and agriculture and resource sectors,” Donaldson said.
“The upgrade works will ensure that we continue to support these industries with a reliable rail network for years to come.”