Have a say on improvements to oldest surviving timber truss bridge in NSW

22 October 2014

George Souris, MP, Member for Upper Hunter, announced the community is invited to attend an upcoming drop in information session and have a say on plans to repair and improve the historic Brig O’Johnston Bridge over the Williams River at Clarence Town.

Mr. Souris said the NSW Government is funding the Brig O’Johnston Bridge upgrade as part of the $145 million Bridges for the Bush program which aims to improve road freight productivity in regional NSW by replacing and upgrading timber bridges.

“The Brig O’Johnston Bridge was built in 1880 and is the oldest surviving timber truss bridge in NSW,” Mr. Souris said.

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

Community members can come along and learn more at a drop-in information session to be held on Saturday 25 October between 9am and 1pm at the Clarence Town School of Arts where project staff will be on hand to learn about the bridge rehabilitation plans.

Given its heritage significance Roads and Maritime proposes to replace and strengthen the bridge structure including the road approaches, timber trusses, decking and both ends of the bridge while preserving its heritage features.

Timber would remain the primary material in the trusses and deck but steel and concrete components would be integrated into the design to strengthen the structure.

This upgrade would ensure the bridge meets current load standards without significantly affecting its appearance,” Mr. Souris said

The Brig O’Johnston Bridge is one of 26 identified for conservation in the NSW Government’s Timber Truss Bridge Conservation Strategy developed in consultation with the Heritage Council of NSW.

A temporary bailey bridge is currently attached to the bridge for structural support and has load and width limits which restrict the size of vehicles that can use it.

Roads and Maritime has been working closely with the Office of Environment and Heritage to ensure the proposed changes meet heritage requirements.

“While Roads and Maritime is investigating different options to carry out the work with minimum impact to motorists and the community, some of this work may require short bridge closures,” Mr. Souris said.

“No final decisions have been made on the timing of the work or extent of bridge closures needed to complete the work which is expected to take around two years to complete, weather permitting.

Following community consultation and approval to proceed from the Heritage Council of NSW, improvement work would start next year. For more information visit www.rms.nsw.gov.au ,” Mr. Souris concluded.

Contact G Souris: Office (02) 6543 1065; Parliament House (02) 9230 2196; Mobile 0427 241 528

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