Grand Ridge Rail Trail bridges out to tender
9 September 2010
Final designs for the upgraded bridge crossings along the Grand Ridge Rail Trail were released this week as tenders were advertised for their construction.
The steel arch span bridges, each 66 metres in length, will be built level with the existing path at two points along the 13km trail which runs from Mirboo North to Boolarra.
The bridges will both be located close to the township of Darlimurla. Their predecessors were destroyed during the January 2009 Delburn Complex fire.
DSE’s Project Manager Bill Storer said that the new bridges will eliminate the need for steep descent and ascent on either side.
“Previous wooden structures at both these sites made passage along the full length of the trail impossible for the mobility impaired and hazardous for those on bicycles – these new bridges will mean that for the first time the trail will be accessible for everyone,” Mr Storer said.
Grand Ridge Rail Trail Committee of Management secretary Neil Cartwright agreed, saying that when built, the bridges will be ‘icing on the cake’ for the trail.
“As triple-span bridges, they will fit beautifully with the historic nature of the trail and will become the highlight of the experience of what is an iconic multi-use trail in our region,” said Mr Cartwright.
Mr Storer said that the design process had been a fairly detailed one, as the bridges needed to take into account the location of existing telecommunications services, as well as the needs of all the users of the trail.
“The size of each span will mean that construction of the bridges will most likely need to be undertaken off-site and the bridge spans trucked in separately,” he said.
The Grand Ridge Rail Trail follows the line of the former Mirboo North to Morwell railway line, which was used from 1885 to the 1970s to transport goods and passengers between Morwell and Mirboo.
As a result of the 2009 fires, much of the trail was closed when vegetation, bridges, signs, fencing and other visitor facilities such as picnic tables and information signs were destroyed. Though much of the trail has since been cleared and re-opened, the trail remains impassable at these two points.
Once the successful tender has been awarded, works should commence on the bridges by the end of the year.