Below Rail Infrastructure, Engineering, Freight Rail

Important upgrade works underway on Collie River Rail bridge

Arc Infrastructure has begun its revitalisation project for the Collie River Rail Bridge, located on an important route for Western Australia’s coal and alumina supply chain.

Approximately half a million dollars has been invested into the re-sleepering and re-railing works on the bridge in the state’s south west.

The bridge is on a section of Arc Infrastructure’s network that provides coal transports from the Premier and Ewington Coal Mines with access to South32’s Alumina Refinery and Soundcem, where coal is used to generate power.

With around one million tonnes of coal – on approximately 250 trains – travelling over the Collie River Rail Bridge every year, the upgrades are considered vital to maintaining safe and reliable access for industry.

It also means that Arc Infrastructure is aiming to make sure that there is as little disruption as possible from the works. Shane Hooper, the company’s structures supervisor, indicated that workers with specialist skills are being used to ensure the upgrades are carried out safely.

“The upgrade of a bridge at that height requires a specific skill set and each employee who worked on top of the bridge was accredited to work at heights and use specialist safety equipment,” Hooper said.

“The nature of the work also means that the time required to replace each sleeper is significantly longer than a standard re-sleepering program.”

Employees qualified to work at heights used restrain harnesses to work on top of the bridge, while scaffolding constructed alongside the bridge has allowed others to carry out tasks on the sides and on the underside of the structure.

The re-sleepering works on the bridge have now been completed by Arc’s local maintenance and major projects teams along with local contractors and involved the replacement of 110 sleepers on the approach. Other works, including 25 metres of re-railing, are to occur later this year.