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A request from Great Lakes Council for a temporary bridge to replace a dilapidated structure has set Civilbuild on the path to developing yet another division of its ever expanding business.
Civilbuild has now designed and is building temporary bridges wider and longer than anything else on the market and with an innovative arrangement that allows use by wide loads.
The company has sold two of these bridges, has another three under construction and hopes to develop a stock pile ready to be sold or hired out in case of emergencies.
One of Civilbuild’s engineers, Jarrod Buttsworth, received a request from Great Lakes Council in October last year for a temporary bridge over Booral Creek at Booral.
The existing bridge had become unsafe and a temporary crossing was needed until a new bridge could be built.
“Council needed something quickly so it set me thinking,” Jarrod said.
“There are other temporary bridges on the market and one was in place while we were building a new bridge at another site for the same council.
“However it was too narrow to get our plant across so we had to put plant on either side of the creek.
“I set myself certain criteria which included a one span bridge 15 metres long, with a wider deck but light enough to be easily transported and lifted into position.”
Casting his mind back to the problems at the other site, Jarrod designed a bridge with guide rails that swing out allowing loads wider than the deck to pass over.
“The pins are simply pulled out, the guide rails swing back and after the load has passed the rails are put back into position.” The weight of the bridges has been kept to just less than 9.5 tonnes, the deck width is 3.481 metres and with a 44 tonne load limit restricted to 10km per hour.
The temporary bridge for Booral Creek was built and in place by last January and has more than stood up to every test put on it.
The biggest came when an accident on the Pacific Highway forced police and Roads and Maritime Services to close the highway and divert traffi c on to the Booral road and over the temporary bridge.
“We had highway traffic, including semi trailers, going over the bridge for several hours and it stood up perfectly,” Jarrod said.
However, as with any new design, there is always room for improvement and that became obvious when it was time to move the first bridge on site.
“The whole structure was 3.52 metres wide, just too wide to move without an escort,” Jarrod said.
“We took one of the sides off and overcame the problem that way.
“The design has since been refi ned to give us an overall width of 3.481 metres which puts it just outside the need for an escort.”
While the bridges have been designed and their construction overseen by Civilbuild, East Coast Engineering is pre-fabricating and building the bridges at their Dungog yard.
“East Coast is doing a great job and their workmanship is first class,” Jarrod said.
“Now we have to find a way to speed up the process to build up a stockpile so when a bridge is needed in a hurry we can despatch one straight away.
“This could become particularly important after a disaster such as a flood where a bridge or bridges are badly damaged or washed away.”