Port Macquarie Hastings Council (PMHC) has completed a major milestone in their capital works portfolio – a multi-million-dollar rehabilitation of Rawdon Island Bridge.
PMHC undertook underwater inspections of the region’s entire bridge network following the March 2021 major flood and discovered significant deterioration of Rawdon Island Bridge’s original construction material, with a majority of damage occurring to the underwater foundations.
The bridge rehabilitation was identified as a critical priority in late June 2021, when the team was already committed to delivering one of their most ambitious Capital Works Programs.
Hastings Shire Council, in partnership with the NSW Government built the bridge in 1961 and it is the only road access for almost 60 households on Rawdon Island and Little Rawdon Island. The extent of the damage saw PMHC close the bridge, impacting access for residents and their on-island businesses.
PMHC staff worked around the clock to provide residents with supplies, waste collection and assistance with transport on and off the island, including procuring a barge for access via the river. Staff worked with residents on alternate access solutions, keeping a regular flow of information and consultation as engineers fast-tracked repairing the bridge.
It was a multi-stage, highly engineered and complex 18-month process to rehabilitate the bridge from the ground up and restore safe access for the Rawdon Island community. Contractors, Duratec Australia were engaged to deliver the technical rehabilitation project.
PMHC Group Manager Community Infrastructure Planning and Design, Blayne West, said the Rawdon Island Bridge rehabilitation was a terrific success under very trying circumstances.
“Projects like this usually take up to two years of planning before boots are on the ground. However, given the critical nature of these repairs we were able to fast-track the design and construction stage, including acquiring all the necessary permits, within five months of the initial discovery.
“We dedicated resources quickly and engaged highly-skilled, meticulous contractors. We met the requirements of this urgent rehabilitation whilst supporting the residents’ needs through a difficult time.
“I am proud of this result – it is defining for our organisation to achieve a complete project of this calibre in less than two years – the timeline that typically would be allocated to planning alone.”
Port Macquarie Hastings Mayor Peta Pinson echoed these statements, noting the community’s interests as a key driving factor.
“There is no mistaking the dedication and drive of council staff to achieve this project in a timely manner for the sake of our impacted community,” said Mayor Pinson.
“I’m proud and grateful to our community for remaining patient, understanding and resilient whilst navigating this layered hardship, which we recognise was compounded amongst many others.”
PMHC’s contractor for the bridge rehabilitation, Duratec Australia, is finalising close-out works. The work not only repaired the damage, but also strengthened and extended the life of the bridge.
“Duratec was privileged to work closely with the Port Macquarie Hastings Council to deliver the Rawdon Island Bridge remediation project,” Duratec’s spokesperson said.
“Through a collaborative delivery model, the project team maximised the project outcomes while minimising the impact to stakeholders, especially the community, as much as possible.
“We would like to extend our gratitude to the Rawdon Island community for their patience during the project and hope they enjoy the safer and smoother ride that the upgraded bridge provided.”
PMHC continues to work with Rawdon Island residents as the project is finalised and the work site is decommissioned.