Environment and Sustainability, Operations & Maintenance

Innovative construction methodology being used for Muswellbrook bridges

Around 1200 workers conducted a maintenance shutdown on the Hunter Valley Rail Network as part of the Muswellbrook Bridge replacement project.

THE Australian Rail Track Corporation carried out a “major maintenance shutdown” on the Hunter Valley Rail Network from Newcastle to Ulan recently.

From 25-27 May, 1200 workers conducted more than 212 separate maintenance jobs across the network.

ARTC group executive Hunter Valley Network, Wayne Johnson said construction of the Muswellbrook Bridge replacement project required an incremental launch process.

This involved the bridge being built in phases as the eight sections of the bridge were constructed.

The new bridge sections was constructed onsite in a specially fabricated casting yard.

“There are a number of benefits to using this construction technique,” Johnson said.

“While it does take a little longer, it’s substantially less intrusive to the natural environment which has been identified as key fish habitat and the trees in the area are home to a significant population of protected grey-headed flying-fox.”

Johnson said this type of technique was more commonly observed in the construction of road bridges rather than rail but was good for building bridges that required large span lengths.

“We would utilise this process again for any future bridge projects,” he said.

Johnson said the bridge would be built away from the construction site of the existing bridges to allow for the works to continue outside of scheduled track possessions. Currently, the project’s completion date is scheduled for June 2022.

Flooding in the Hunter Valley early this year delayed maintenance work in other parts of the network.

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