Councillor Lindsay Passfield, Kevin Hogan MP, Kyogle mayor Danielle Mulholland and Councillor Earle Grundy at the recent opening of Mulcahys Bridge in Kyogle Shire.
Councillor Lindsay Passfield, Kevin Hogan MP, Kyogle mayor Danielle Mulholland and Councillor Earle Grundy at the recent opening of Mulcahys Bridge in Kyogle Shire.

Building bridges like a jigsaw with innovative design

When it comes to bridges, Kyogle Council really does build local.

Like a jigsaw puzzle, parts of the bridge are fabricated and put together on site.

With so many bridges to replace, it is a clever way to tackle their construction.

Kyogle mayor Danielle Mulholland said they started with 320 timber bridges and have managed to get that figure down to 125 timber bridges remaining that need to be replaced.

Last week Mulcahys Bridge on Needhams Road replaced the old load-limited timber bridge.

The council's general manager Graham Kennett said the bridge construction was undertaken by Kyogle Council's bridge construction team creating an in-house modular bridge design using a steel girder substructure, combined with precast concrete decking sections and abutment components.

The steel substructures are manufactured by McMillan Steel Fabrication in Woodenbong and the council has its own precasting facility for the decks and other components in the village of Woodenbong, Mr Kennett said.

"Because the main structure is manufactured off site and in small components, the bridge can be quickly and easily transported to any site and installed once the abutments and piers are completed, and immediately opened to traffic.

"The system was developed by Kyogle Council over a number of years, and provides a cost effective solution for single and multi-span bridges that meets the current engineering standards."

Ms Mulholland said once they finished all the bridges, the council would no longer have the burden of replacing bridges so that money can be redirected into other works such as maintenance and upgrades.

"Our target is zero timber bridges but of course, that is dependant on funding programs continuing," she said.

The funding for the bridge building has been a long road with the council lobbying state and federal governments for money.

"We are also starting to work with our neighbouring councils more effectively," Ms Mulholland said.

"We are about to start the replacement of a bridge which is on the Kyogle and Tenterfield border and we are partnering with Tenterfield to deliver this bridge."

"We have a depot at Woodenbong where many components of our bridges are assembled and we are leading the way in terms of replacing bridges with not only our lobbying but our designs.

" It's an innovative design which we are happy to share, we build quicker and cheaper than anyone else but we are not substituting quantity for quality and meet all industry standards and we are good at what we do."

Needhams Road Mulcahys Bridge, which we opened last week, had a load limit, and heavy vehicles had restricted access. This is a pre cast modular bridge that is designed and manufactured by Kyogle Council. Mulcahys Bridge was funded by $435,000 from the Federal Government, $435,000 from the NSW State Government, and $30,000 from NSW Forestry Corp.

Other local contractors and suppliers involved in bridge projects include;

•MJ Smith Ground Preparation (Woodenbong)

•Taylors Hardware (Woodenbong)

•Graham Concrete and Grahams Quarries (Kyogle)

•HJ (Murphy) Standfield (Kyogle)

•Johnos Tipper and Excavator Hire (Kyogle)

•Brown and Hurley (Kyogle)

•North East Cranes (Lismore)

•Peter Lowndes Consulting Engineer (Ballina)

The Bert Rayner Bridge on Findon Creek Road recently completed was contracted out to a local contractor OzWide Bridge Rail and Civil, based in the Gradys Creek area north of Kyogle.