The construction of the new bridge at Barrington is causing quite the spectacle.
As activity has begun to increase at the site, it has attracted a range of visitors including MidCoast Council employees, members of Engineers Australia and a few of the crew from the Gloucester Men's Shed.
During the week of September 2 - 7, the work site had acquired a pretty fascinating crane to help lift massive concrete girders from transport trucks onto the piers of the structure.
The girders, which are the main horizontal support beams on a bridge, are long, hollow and u-shaped with lots of steel in all the right places. The crane, affectionately known as, The Beast, was brought in by local contractors, Ditchfield to place the 24 girders, laying them six across in four spans.
Transport for NSW started construction on the new bridge in February 2019 with the project expected to be completed by June 2020. Most of sub structure work beneath the bridge - including piling, installing pier columns and head stocks - has been completed, including a bit of land stabilisation work on the banks of the Barrington River.
Although the construction requires fill be placed in the river to allow the machines and people to work safely, channels has been left open to ensure the water continues to flow. All the fill brought in during the construction will be removed once the bridge is completed and the river banks will undergo some regeneration work.The $17 million new bridge is being built beside the existing timber truss bridge on the Thunderbolts Way over the Barrington River in order to improve safety and reliability for motorists, including freight.
"Construction of a new bridge will improve road freight productivity as well as road safety for motorists and pedestrians while ensuring the traffic needs of the community in the Barrington, Gloucester and surrounding areas are met," a spokesperson from Transport NSW said.
Work has also started on the road approaches on both ends leading up to the bridge to provide for a new road alignment for when the bridge becomes operational.
Barrington Bridge was built in 1920 on an important freight link between the Mid North Coast and the New England Tablelands serving tourism, livestock and timber industries. It's one of the bridges identified for replacement in the Roads and Maritime Timber Truss Bridge Conservation Strategy, developed in consultation with the Heritage Council of NSW. The strategy addresses the long term management of these structures and aims to establish a balance between infrastructure provision and heritage conservation and was displayed for public comment in 2011.