01 May 2012
Plans to build a new bridge over the Hunter River at Aberdeen, Australia, are progressing, with tenders now being called.
The federal government has provided funding as part of a US$45 million package to allow higher loads to be carried on key freight routes. The funding will allow work to start on a replacement bridge crossing the Hunter River on the New England Highway at Aberdeen, 13 kilometres north of Muswellbrook in New South Wales (NSW).
The existing southbound Fitzgerald Bridge is a lattice truss structure, built in 1893. The bridge has a carriageway width of 5.7m, which is too narrow compared to the minimum width now. The steel truss spans are also structurally inadequate for the higher mass limits on the network. The northbound bridge is adjacent to the heritage bridge on the western side. Built in 1986, the bridge has a carriageway width of 5.5m with a 1.9m-wide footway. The bridge is suitable for only one lane.
“The New England Highway crossing of the Hunter River at Aberdeen provides an important link to the Upper Hunter, with an average of 8,500 vehicles using the crossing daily,” said a spokesperson for the NSW Roads & Maritime Services (RMS).
RMS is now calling tenders to build the two-lane bridge over the Hunter River, as well as approach roadworks on the New England Highway. The contract also includes designing and building reinforced soil walls on the bridge approaches and building a shared path under the new and existing bridges along the southern bank of the Hunter River.
Once the successful tenderer is announced, work is expected to start on building the new Aberdeen bridge later this year.
The existing crossing is made up of two separate bridges for north and southbound traffic.
The new bridge will fill an important missing link in the freight access route through the Upper Hunter region. The existing northbound bridge will be demolished when the new bridge is opened. The existing southbound heritage bridge will be retained for pedestrians and cyclists.