Brig O'Johnston Bridge at Clarence Town

Roads and Maritime Services has been carrying out essential maintenance work on the historic Brig O’Johnston Bridge over the Williams River at Clarence Town in preparation for future rehabilitation work.

Brig O'Johnston Bridge
Brig O'Johnston Bridge

Updates and announcements

Roads and Maritime Services has been carrying out essential maintenance work on the Brig O’Johnston Bridge at Clarence Town. Work includes routine maintenance of the timber trusses and the existing bailey support system, in preparation for future rehabilitation of the bridge.

Work has been underway since August 2016 and was scheduled to be completed by late 2016.

In recent weeks a threatened fauna species has been discovered in the vicinity of the bridge. In accordance with Roads and Maritime’s Biodiversity Guidelines work on the bridge cannot continue during the breeding season.

As a result, work has been temporarily discontinued on the bridge. It is proposed for work to recommence in May 2017, following the conclusion of the breeding season.

The current load limit on the bridge of 32 tonnes will remain in place. A well signposted detour route will be available for vehicles greater than this weight.

Roads and Maritime will continue to keep the community updated about the next steps to complete maintenance and rehabilitation of the bridge.

Roads and Maritime is continuing to work with the Office of Environment and Heritage with planning progressing towards a formal application to approve rehabilitation of the heritage listed Brig O’Johnston Bridge. Following approval, an environmental assessment and delivery options will be prepared for consultation with the community.

More information is available in the November 2016 project notification (PDF, 125Kb)

Waterway restrictions

Usage of the waterway below the bridge has been reopened for all marine vessels. Bridge scaffolding will temporarily remain in place. A reassessment of the need for bridge scaffolding will take place in coming months.

Project background

The Brig O’Johnston Bridge over the Williams River at Clarence Town was built in 1880 and is the oldest surviving timber truss bridge in NSW. The bridge is one of 26 bridges identified for conservation in the Roads and Maritime Timber Truss Bridge Conservation Strategy, which was developed in consultation with the Heritage Council of NSW.

The strategy was developed to address the long term management of these structures and aims to establish a balance between infrastructure provision and heritage conservation. The strategy was displayed for stakeholder and community comment in 2011. The feedback received was considered in finalising the strategy and identifying bridges for replacement and conservation.

Given its heritage significance the Brig O’Johnston Bridge was identified for rehabilitation to meet current vehicle load standards while preserving its heritage features.

Next steps

The NSW Government is funding the rehabilitation of the Brig O’Johnston Bridge as part of its $145 million Bridges for the Bush commitment to improve road freight productivity in regional NSW and reduce timber bridge maintenance costs by replacing or upgrading bridges.

Rehabilitation work is required to strengthen the bridge to meet current vehicle loads and heavy vehicle requirements, as well as help to reduce future maintenance costs.

Roads and Maritime is continuing to work with the Office of Environment and Heritage with planning progressing towards a formal application to approve rehabilitation of the bridge. Following approval, an environmental assessment and delivery options will be prepared for consultation with the community.

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