Historic bridge restoration underway

Tweed Shire Council

Work has begun to restore the historic Dunbible Bridge, one of 5 bridges to be restored as part of the construction of the 24 km Tweed section of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail.

Much of the rail and bridge infrastructure along the trail is significantly damaged and decayed, making it unsafe and unsuitable for public use. These restoration works will see some bridges receive a much-needed facelift including removing the old lead paint and repainting.

American-inspired steel through-truss bridges became a hallmark of the North Coast Railway Line which first opened in 1894.

Tweed Regional Museum Director Molly Green said the Dunbible Creek Railway Bridge was a good example of a steel through-truss bridge.

“This is a fascinating restoration process and it is great the project team are prioritising documentation of the changes to contribute to the ongoing story of our rail history,” Ms Green said.

Since construction of the trail began in late 2021, contractors have completed an archival record of 11 bridges across the length of the Tweed section of the trail to ensure these records are shared with the Tweed Regional Museum to add to their collection.

Other preliminary works underway include the completion of a geotechnical and foundation study, clearing works and the installation of a trial surface which has required rail tracks to be removed.

Project Director Iain Lonsdale said the aging rail infrastructure was in a state of disrepair.

“While its condition is unsuitable for its intended purpose, it is important to us that we reuse and recycle as much as possible to minimise waste,” Mr Lonsdale said.

“It is likely the majority of rails removed during construction works will be repurposed as pylons to be used within the foundations of new building construction overseas.

“We are retaining a small amount of reclaimed rail to potentially incorporate into infrastructure such as seating, sign/fence posts, or tables along the rail trail and have earmarked metal sleepers, plates, clips and bolts to be recycled at the Newcastle Steel Mill.”

As contractors continue construction and restoration works along the trail, some traffic delays may be experienced in the following locations over coming weeks:

• Dunbible – Stokers Rd

• Stokers Siding – Stokers Rd and The Bloodwoods Rd and Tunnel Rd

• Mooball – Tweed Valley Way

• Crabbes Creek – Tweed Valley Way

For project updates and more information about the Northern Rivers Rail Trail and associated traffic plans, visit yoursaytweed.com.au/railtrail.

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