Hexham Bridge maintenance program

The southbound Hexham Bridge is a landmark in the surrounding area and acts as a gateway to the suburbs of Hexham and Tomago. The bridge crosses the Hunter River carrying two lanes of southbound traffic on the Pacific Highway and provides access for marine traffic.

Hexham Bridge
Hexham Bridge

Updates and announcements

The NSW Government funds bi-annual 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 and mechanical components and the emergency system of the bridge.

Biannual maintenance work was carried out in March 2019 and the next round is scheduled for September 2019

Project background

The bridge crosses the Hunter River and carries two lanes of southbound traffic on the Pacific Highway acting as a gateway to the suburbs of Hexham and Tomago.

More than 20,000 road vehicles use the southbound Hexham Bridge each day. The pedestrian and cycleway paths provide both recreational and commuting access.

The bridge opens about 120 times each year, which is around ten times per month.

More information about the southbound Hexham Bridge opening times and bookings can be found on the Bridge opening times page.

Key features

The southbound Hexham Bridge, constructed between 1945 and 1952, crosses the North Channel of the Hunter River on the Pacific Highway at Hexham. It is one of the last steel truss opening span bridges constructed and one of few surviving lift span bridges in New South Wales, still in working order.

The 383 metre long bridge was converted to one way operation when a new northbound bridge was open in 1987. The bridge now carries two lanes of southbound traffic on the Pacific Highway, with northbound traffic carried by a concrete bridge just upstream.

Monthly maintenance

Monthly maintenance on the southbound Hexham Bridge is generally carried out on the second Thursday of every month.

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

Bi-annual service

The bi-annual service of the southbound Hexham Bridge usually takes place over three nights in March and August/September of each year. The work is carried out at night to minimise disruption to traffic.

The 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 lift span (opening section of the bridge) will not be in operation during the bi-annual service and the bridge will not be open to marine traffic while the maintenance work is carried out.

The southbound bridge will be closed during the work. All traffic will be diverted onto the northbound bridge, which will operate with one lane in each direction. The footpath will also be closed. Traffic controllers will escort pedestrians across the bridge.

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
  • Social media
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