Project of the Year: Transportation Category
Repair and Refurbishment of Yowaka River Bridge
New South Wales, Australia
Submitted by APS Technical Services Pty. Ltd.
A nationally listed 1934 structure, the Yowaka River Bridge is located on New South Wales State Highway No.1 linking Melbourne to Sydney along the southeast coastline of Australia. The highway and bridge provide a vital transport arterial and tourist route through an area that contains one of the state’s largest oyster growing industries.
On the morning of June 8, 1999, a fully laden fuel tanker lost control on the southern approach and overturned onto the bridge deck, spilling fuel onto the embankment, which ignited and flowed into the river below. In order to protect the oyster beds located close downstream from contamination, a decision was made to allow surface fuel to burn until emergency containment measures were in place and operational. Consequently, the bridge endured severe damage to the southern half of the structure, which was then closed, restricting traffic to a single lane.
With the seasonal tourist influx fast approaching at finalization of contract documents, and a Christmas deadline to fully open the bridge, it was clear to the contractor that an alternate repair methodology from that specified was required. Within a seven-week period, a complete structural analysis and design had been performed and accepted, damaged curb and guardrail reinstated, and supporting steelwork fabricated, transported to the site, and successfully installed. The bridge was reopened to full traffic on December 18, with a week to spare.
The substructure restoration work began in January 2000. Following the encapsulation of the bridge for environmental protection, hydrodemolition of the girders, deck soffit, pier, and abutment walls were carried out prior to the application of both formed and sprayed concrete. Through the revised methodology developed and implemented by the contractor for this project, the reinstatement of the bridge structure with full restoration to its original historic appearance was possible.