The repair and replacement of the 22 Timber Bridges for Queensland Rail started in April 2015 and has an expected completion date of February 2016. It entails the replacement of 22 timber rail bridges, varying in size from 2-17 spans.
This Design & Construct contract enabled the VEC team to formulate a design that met the Clients’ needs - a program that would not disrupt the rail traffic and that met the stringent 48 hour limited track closure allowances.
If these rail bridges had not been replaced, the rail line would have had to been terminated. This would have been detrimental to the local outback communities, as they heavily rely on the railway to transport their livestock to destinations where they are sold. The alternative is to have the cattle, grain and freight via road transport, which is considerably more expensive, making the outback farmers less competitive, and likely to result in a decreased economy.
The construction of the bridges was completed 3 months ahead of schedule, thus avoiding the infamous wet season.
VEC also competed the rail works and have the rail capacity in house as our employees are trained to be multi-skilled.
VEC took the Direct Fix system with Pandrol plates, and adjusted the design for the Pandrol plates to be fixed directly to the precast, prestressed voided plank, with a direct fix rail onto these beams. The structural depth was reduced by ~400mm, allowing the rail to remain at its’ current level, without reducing the waterways below the beams. Between the direct fix rail, VEC used precast concrete guard rails, giving the structures very clean and flowing lines which looked slim and attractive.
Direct Fix was utilisted on all 22 bridges, as it is an economical solution that creates economical opportunities for all stakeholders.
The project entailed 22 project sites, which spanned between West Longreach to Emerald and from Emerald to Clairemont in outback Central West Queensland. VEC’s program needed to take these distances into consideration when planning the equipment mobilisation.
All of the precast concrete was fabricated by HUMES in Rockhampton and transported to site. Having all the sections constructed offsite meant measurements needed to be highly accurate, as small errors would have a significant effect on the program.