Swansea Bridge maintenance program

Swansea Bridge on the Pacific Highway is an important gateway spanning the entrance to Lake Macquarie between Swansea and Blacksmiths. The bridge provides an alternate route along the Pacific Highway between the Central Coast and Newcastle. The bridge spans Swansea Channel, which is the only access for large boats and yachts between Lake Macquarie and the Pacific Ocean.

Swansea Bridge
Swansea Bridge

Updates and announcements

The NSW Government provides funding for biannual essential maintenance work to ensure the safe and reliable operation of the bridge.

Roads and Maritime Services carries out the work which includes inspecting and testing the electrical, mechanical and hydraulic components and the emergency system of the bridge.

The next round of biannual maintenance work is scheduled for October 2018.

The bi-annual service of Swansea Bridge usually takes place over three nights in May and October each year.

Boats will not be able to pass through the Swansea Bridge navigation channel while service work is being carried out. There are a number of moorings located to the east and west of the bridge to help minimise the impact of reduced access in the channel.

Project background

Lake Macquarie is the largest saltwater lake in Australia and four times the size of Sydney Harbour. It plays an important role in the region for diving, boating, leisure and tourism activities.

More than 27,000 road vehicles use Swansea Bridge each day. The pedestrian and cycleway paths on both bridges provide both recreational and commuting access.

The bridge opens about 2000 times each year, which is around five to six times per day, allowing up to 4500 boats to pass through each year.

Find out more information about bridge opening times.

Key features

The original channel crossing at Swansea was a drawbridge built in the early 1880s. This was replaced in 1909 with a bridge which incorporated a roadway, later to become the Pacific Highway.

The current crossing has two opening bridges spanning the entrance to Lake Macquarie. The older northbound bridge was opened in 1955 and the second southbound bridge was opened in 1989. Each of the bridges contains two lanes for traffic and provides pedestrian and cycleway access.

Monthly maintenance

Monthly maintenance on Swansea Bridge is generally carried out on the first Tuesday of every month.

The mechanical, electrical and hydraulic components of the bridge are checked and inspected. The inspections require test lifts, which are done outside bridge opening times over a two to three hour period. This is carried out after the morning peak to minimise the impact on Pacific Highway traffic.

Biannual service

The bi-annual service of Swansea Bridge usually takes place over three nights in May and October each year. The work is carried out at night to minimise disruption to traffic. One bridge remains open for both directions of traffic (one lane in each direction) while work is undertaken on the other bridge.

The hydraulic, electrical and mechanical components are inspected and tested to ensure they are in good working condition. Emergency systems are also checked. If necessary, components are repaired or replaced. Bi-annual servicing provides an opportunity to undertake other work while there is no traffic on the bridge.

The bascule (opening section of the bridge) will not be in operation during the bi-annual service. Boats will not be able to pass through the Swansea Bridge navigation channel. There are a number of moorings located to the east and west of the bridge to help minimise the impact of reduced access in the channel.

Community engagement

Roads and Maritime Services will work with the community to provide information about maintenance at the bridge as early as possible to reduce the impacts of closures.

Depending on the maintenance work required, Roads and Maritime will advise the local community through:

  • Letterbox drops
  • Electronic message signs on the approaches to the bridge
  • Traffic alerts to local media
  • Marine community alerts through the Swansea coastguard
  • Social media.
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