THE Home Hill Chamber of Commerce has received increased support from its members and guests for its July Social Event meeting at the Home Hill Community Sports Club, with the attendance almost doubled over previous meetings to listen to speakers from the Department of Transport and Main Roads.
It was a pleasing result for the Chamber, as the invited speakers, Department of Transport and Main Roads Project Manager, RoadTek, Michael Brennan and Kelly Stolz talked about the Burdekin River Bridge rehabilitation program, its history and its current maintenance program.
Looking back at the history of the Bridge, Mr Brennan said it had been built over a 10-year period from 1947 to 1957 at a cost of £3,200,000 ($6,400,000) and had held its 60th Birthday celebrations in 2017.
He said the Department of Transport had taken over the maintenance of the bridge and currently there were six full-time employees working on the bridge, with up to 20 employed at any one time and it had taken seven years to completely paint the bridge with four coats of paint.
Referring to the 52-tonne gantry on top of the structure, Mr Brennan said it had been designed in 1990 and installed in 1991.
It had been removed in 2010 and 2014 for rehabilitation work and there were plans in place for further removal and rehabilitation work in October, 2023. At those times, a 220-tonne crane has to be used to remove and install the gantry.
Mr Brennan told the Chamber that among their achievements to date were the installation of steel strengthening top chord cover plates; replacement of all expansion joints; replacement of all drainage structures; the replacement of 480 upper angles; the installation of bird proofing, rehabilitation of main truss pier bearings, removal and replacement of 4000 rivets, replacement of 100 walkway plates; and spot painting.
Currently, the maintenance crew is working on major spot painting; replacement of 40 sloping chord angles; Top chord repairs and rehabilitation; Annual cyclic maintenance and annual level one inspection.
Future maintenance will include ongoing cleaning, repairs and inspection of the pedestrian walkway; Lower and upper chord painting; Lower gantry maintenance; Ongoing sloping chord replacement works; Upper lateral angle bracing replacement works and Top gantry maintenance and rehabilitation.
The address created considerable interest amongst all those present at the meeting with numerous questions directed at the speakers.
The Chamber is hoping to invite the Department representatives back to a future meeting to discuss future work on the bridge, once decisions are made by the Federal Government on the direction they take on subjects such as a possible second bridge or a bypass of Home Hill and associated crossings of the Burdekin River.
The next meeting in August will be the Chamber’s AGM. Because of the absence of some officers, the meeting has been put back to 5.30pm on Wednesday, August 30 at the Home Hill Community Sports Club.