Timber restoration of Brunswick Heads bridge celebrated today

The timber restoration of Brunswick Heads’ iconic South Arm Bridge was officially opened today by the Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister, the Honourable Kevin Hogan – with ribbon cutting duties assisted by Brunswick Heads Public School captains Aquila Evans Mackay, Franky Haberfield and Jack Harvey – along with Byron Shire Mayor, Simon Richardson and Tamara Smith, Member for Ballina.

The bridge’s impressive restoration was funded under the Australian Government’s Bridges Renewal ($607,530) and Roads to Recovery ($456,000) programs. Byron Shire Council also contributed $593,000.

“We are proud of this project on so many levels,” Byron Shire Mayor Simon Richardson said.

“The restoration of this bridge was essentially an entire rebuild from the ground up with intense traffic conditions at times which presented enormous challenges.

“Not only have we delivered a re-engineered and structurally superior bridge with a much higher load rating for Brunswick Heads and its visitors, the timber features are absolutely beautiful.

“On top of this, what a great recycling story this project has been!” Mayor Richardson said.

Thanks to some innovative thinking by Council’s engineers, seasoned hardwood timbers recycled from bridge replacements in Bangalow were used in this upgrade, while new homes for the old South Arm Bridge timbers were found for other Council and community projects around the Shire.

The project also produced a range of environmental benefits because it was a timber reconstruction rather than a new concrete bridge. It is estimated that this design choice produced savings in the order of around 800 tonnes of Co2.

In addition, the impact on the marine park environment of Simpson’s Creek was very low compared to driving new piles and pouring concrete over the waterway for a new concrete bridge. The new timber used for the bridge’s decking was sourced from Australian Sustainable managed forestry.

The upgrade of the Brunswick Heads South Arm Bridge included an extensive list of works:

• Posting of all 24 bridge piles using recycle girders from Council’s Bangalow Bridges Replacement Project.

• High strength fibreglass wrapping of every pile.

• Replacement of half the girders – all new girders were recycled from the Bangalow ‘Five Bridges Project’.

• Replacement of half of the corbels – also recycled from the Bangalow ‘Five Bridges Project’.

• Replacement of 80% of headstocks with new milled hardwood.

• Replacement of 100% of the deck with new milled hardwood.

• Reconstruction of Abutment 1, including posting of 4 abutment piles (recycled), new headstocks, new back wall, road approach works and rock revetment work.

• Existing kerb and safety barrier was removed and reinstalled with some components recycled from the Bangalow ‘Five Bridges Project’ where required.

• Completely new engineered connection system across the whole bridge, and re-engineering and reshaping of every timber substructure component (new or existing).

• New safer balustrade on the pedestrian walkway which was made using timbers recycled from South Arm Bridge, and refurbishment of the steel cantilevered walkway substructure.

“A big thank you to the local community for their support and patience throughout this project and our thanks to the Australian Government for their continued support to improve our local infrastructure,” Mayor Richardson said.

“We hope this iconic bridge will continue to be a much-loved asset for decades to come,” he said.

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