Barham Koondrook Bridge

Roads and Maritime Services, in partnership with VicRoads, is continuing the restoration of Barham Koondrook Bridge over the Murray River. The NSW and Victorian Governments are funding this $17 million essential maintenance work to ensure the bridge will continue to meet current vehicle loads and volumes, as well as the growing needs of the local and travelling community into the future.

Barham Koondrook Bridge
Barham Bridge

Updates and announcements

Work has started in preparation for the construction of a temporary bridge crossing that will be used by motorists and pedestrians while the Barham Koondrook Bridge is restored.

Work includes setting up the site compound, installing fencing and environmental controls, and removing trees. Construction of the temporary bridge will then start, including intersections and road approaches.

Traffic is expected to move onto the temporary bridge in late 2016. Road users could be using the temporary bridge for up to 12 months.

As construction of the temporary bridge progresses, there will be minor delays to traffic at times. When the Thule and Murray streets intersection work is carried out, about September, Murray Street between Thule Street and the Royal Hotel will be closed to traffic for up to two weeks for the safety of motorists and workers.

Some noisy activities such as pile driving and chainsaw use will also occur around the bridge. Affected properties will be advised in advance of these activities.

There may be several short closures of the temporary bridge in late 2016 and early 2017 when work starts on the existing bridge to remove and replace the truss spans.

The work will be carried out on weekdays between 7am and 6pm and on Saturdays between 8am and 1pm, weather permitting. Noisy activities will be restricted between 7.30am and 5pm.

Project background

Roads and Maritime has been restoring the historic lift span bridge since April 2012. The work has included mechanical repairs to the lift span and replacing the NSW approach span.

This restoration work is ensuring the bridge will continue to meet current vehicle loads and volumes, as well as the growing needs of the local and travelling community into the future. Without this work, restrictions such as load limits would have to be imposed, restricting accessibility across the river.

The Barham Koondrook Bridge is one of the oldest lift span bridges on the Murray River. It is listed on the NSW State Heritage register and has to be retained for its heritage value.

Next stages of work

The next stages of work involve: 

  • Replacing the Victorian bridge abutment (support at the end of the bridge), approach span and pier
  • Replacing the two timber truss spans and deck
  • Painting and mechanical upgrade of the lift span towers.

Environmental assessment

The review of environmental factors was displayed for community comment from Monday 29 February to Friday 18 March 2016. Comments closed on Friday 18 March and 14 submissions were received.

A submissions report summarising the comments, responses, changes to the proposal and details of the environmental measures and safeguards is now available. The submissions report and review of environmental factors can be viewed in project documents.

Temporary crossing investigations

Community and stakeholder engagement has been an essential part of planning for restoration work on the Barham Koondrook Bridge. Feedback received during consultation about bridge closures showed a strong preference for Roads and Maritime to provide a temporary crossing solution for the next stages of work.

Six temporary crossing options were investigated, including options suggested by the community, and are as follows: 

  • Option 1 – Cobwell Street (via Murray Parade)
  • Option 2 – Cobwell Street (via Vine and Dalton streets)
  • Option 3 – Thule Street (next to Barham Koondrook Bridge)
  • Option 4 – Wakool Street (via Murray Parade)
  • Option 5 – vehicular ferry at Noorong Street (via Murray Parade)
  • Option 6 – Punt Road (via Teague Street)

A map is available in the community update.

Options 1 and 4 were considered unsuitable as there is not enough room for heavy vehicles to turn safely.

Option 2 was considered unsuitable as heavy vehicles would need to be diverted on to narrow residential streets, requiring significant intersection upgrades and road widening.

Option 5, the ferry, was considered unsuitable as it would be unable to meet vehicle capacity during peak times.

Option 6 was considered unsuitable due to the significant amount of tree clearing and road construction involved. This option is also close to the Koondrook Primary School.

Recommendation for a temporary crossing – Option 3 Thule Street (next to Barham Koondrook Bridge)

Option 3 is the preferred option as it:

  • Suits the movements of heavy vehicles better
  • Reduces moving traffic through residential streets
  • Environmentally, only disturbs previously disturbed areas
  • Needs less road works and intersection upgrades
  • Provides better pedestrian access.

An analysis of Option 3 is shown in the table in the community update.

The impacts from the temporary bridge are:

  • A narrower width of 4.2 metres, restricting the movement of wide loads such as farm machinery across the bridge. The existing bridge allows for 4.8 metre wide loads
  • Single lane with possible traffic signals
  • The removal of up to 19 trees to build access roads to the temporary bridge
  • Construction period of five months to build the temporary crossing, including three intersections. Traffic controls and some noise would be associated with this work
  • Changes to road and property accesses in both Barham and Koondrook to ensure the safety of motorists
  • No lift span, restricting river traffic such as paddle steamers having access under the bridge. Bridge clearance would be reduced by 450mm
  • Possibly four closures of the temporary bridge when the old truss spans are removed from the existing bridge and the new truss spans installed. This is for the safety of workers and road users because of how close the temporary bridge will be to the existing bridge
  • In use by motorists for up to 12 months.

The cost estimate for Option 3 is about $2.3 million using Roads and Maritime’s existing temporary bridge infrastructure. Using a temporary bridge that is owned by Roads and Maritime is a lower cost option than hiring and using an external supplier’s product. The temporary bridge will carry the same loads as the existing bridge.

Roads and Maritime has carried out an economic analysis which shows significant project delivery and community cost savings with this temporary crossing solution. These savings would come from a more efficient work program, reduced safety risks, reduced traffic control, and much less disruption and delays to the community.

The temporary bridge would allow the community to carry on as usual – minimising economic impacts and keeping the connection between both communities.

While the temporary bridge crossing will impact river traffic and wide loads, Roads and Maritime believes that the benefits mentioned above make this a viable and worthwhile proposal to proceed with.

The temporary bridge would be removed after completion of the restoration work.

No temporary bridge crossing

Without a temporary bridge the following would occur:

  • About two years to finish the restoration work compared to 12 to 15 months
  • Up to 15 days of bridge closures
  • A detour of around 56 kilometres during closures which adds another 40 minutes to a motorist’s journey
  • Ongoing delays of up to 20 minutes on most days
  • Traffic controls in place 24 hours a day
  • Night work to avoid some closures and delays on weekdays and weekends that impact businesses. Noise would be associated with this night work.

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