Industry News

Bremer River Bridge patch-up plans fall short with trucking industry

A $42.5 million state spend commitment this week on the problem-plagued Bremer River Bridge is welcome, but doesn’t go far enough to address underlying issues, says the Queensland Trucking Association.

QTA CEO Gary Mahon said that you only have to look at the value drawn from the key freight route to know that $42.5m – and potentially the same amount from the feds – is “far from a satisfactory solution”.

“We’re pleased to hear that interim money is being spent to keep this bridge open to some extent, but we want to see what the longer term solution is,” Mahon said.

“When you look at the value of the freight coming from the south, the agriculture from the Southern Downs and Central West, we need better than an interim solution.”

Mahon said Australia is need of productivity growth and can’t have that growth impeded on a major corridor by a bridge.

The westbound bridge over the Bremer has been the subject of patch-ups and delays for months now due to replacement works to extend the life of the crumbling 65-year-old structure.

“We need to significantly improve the efficiency of road freight around the country for the productivity benefit of the country, for safety, to lower the fuel burn per trip so there’s a much more efficient movement of a tonne of freight with PBS vehicles, and here we are, on probably the most significant freight corridor in the state, being limited by a bridge,” Mahon said.

“Especially when only 80km up the road we spent $1.7 billion on the Toowoomba Second Range.”

Mahon said the many shortcomings with the Bremer River Bridge means a “significant portion” of OSOM fleets are now forced to go up Cunningham’s Gap instead.

“If it’s going to the Central Highlands it adds about 400km to the trip and it also holds up the Cunningham.

“We spent all that money on the Toowoomba Second Range and we’re using Cunningham’s Gap as the alternate because Bremer River Bridge can’t handle it.”

Mahon said certain PBS vehicles are also experiencing issues with bridge access due to weights and lengths.

“They won’t approve 32.5m which is a sensible combination to put a sleeper on an A-double. There are some very good combinations that are highly efficient that come into that category around 32.5m and the Bremer River Bridge is limiting that.

“The Warrego [Highway] is being limited in a number of ways so more and more freight is starting to head out the Cunningham.”

The Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) said it is “actively addressing safety concerns” at the Bremer River Bridge with its $42.5 million commitment towards critical rehabilitation and strengthening works.

Matched funding will also be sought from the Australian government, which would provide a total investment of $85 million.

TMR said that replacing the deck on the main spans of the westbound bridge will be required to allow the removal of the current vehicle speed and mass restrictions.

Welding repairs to the steel girders on the underside of the bridge recently commenced while design for the rehabilitation works is completed.

Restrictions on vehicle speed and mass have been implemented at the site, and traffic signals will soon be activated at the centre median crossovers to manage the movement of oversize over-mass vehicles more efficiently.

Welding repairs will address fatigue cracks until the full rehabilitation works are complete, said TMR.

These works are currently being undertaken at night between 8pm and 5am, Sunday to Thursday.

During these repair works, traffic control measures will be in place on-site to manage vehicle movements, including a long-term speed limit reduction to 70km/h on the eastbound carriageway and single lane closures on the westbound bridge will be in place during these hours.

“The current load restrictions and reduced speed limits will be in place on the westbound bridge for the foreseeable future,” said Transport Minister Bart Mellish.

“It is important that the community travel at the sign posted speed limits.

“We thank the community for their ongoing patience, TMR will continue to provide more information when it becomes available.”


The post Bremer River Bridge patch-up plans fall short with trucking industry appeared first on Big Rigs.

  1. Australian Truck Radio Listen Live
Send this to a friend