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

Motorists are advised of changed traffic conditions from Wednesday 26 April in Barham and Koondrook as part of construction of road approaches to the temporary bridge crossing.

We will be carrying out the work between 7am and 5pm, Monday to Friday and between 8am and 4pm, Saturdays as required. Work will also occur between 8am and 4pm on Sunday 14 May.

Motorists may experience delays of up to five minutes on the Koondrook side of the Murray River. Lane closures will be in place on Grigg Road and traffic controllers on site.

On the Barham side, a temporary part closure of Murray Street and Thule Street intersection will occur from Tuesday 9 May to Saturday 20 May. This closure will be 24 hours a day.

There will be no access to the eastern end of Murray Street from Thule Street during this time. Access to and from Murray Street will be available from Thule Street via the Wakool Street and Mellool Street detour.

There will be no disruption to driveway access to the Royal Hotel on the corner of Thule and Murray Streets, however parking in front of the hotel on Murray Street will be unavailable during the work.

The temporary part closure of the Murray Street and Thule Street intersection will allow the work to be completed in the shortest time possible and with the highest level of safety for motorists, pedestrians and workers.

Pedestrians will be moved onto the temporary bridge walkway from Wednesday 26 April to ensure their safety during the road approach work.

Motorists should plan their trip, allow extra travel time and follow the direction of all signs.

Roads and Maritime thanks the motorists for their patience during this important maintenance work.

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 in March 2016 and a submissions report completed.

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. The temporary bridge structure would be 300mm lower than the existing lift span in the lowered position. And the height restriction would be determined by uncontrolled river height.
  • 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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