VEC replaced the Darr River Rail Bridge deck and rail line, replaced 5 of the existing piers and refurbished the remaining existing piers on one of the bridges that Bety crossed over the Darr River. The bridge is approximately 33km North West of Longreach, and stretches 76m over the river. VEC had been given the task to complete the repairs within just 10 weeks, on time for Bety to cross on this historic train journey.
The rail bridge is located over a flowing river, therefore VEC had to create a methodology of piling and erecting the bridge from the top of the bridge without encroaching the river bed.
Precast elements for the bridge construction were delayed due to the effect of Category 5 Cyclone Marcia during construction.
The VEC construction crew battled temperatures in excess of 43 degrees Celcius. A Cultural Heritage Induction taught the crew how to find artefacts and how to report it correctly to Queensland Rail if some artefacts are found on the site.
This bridge is higher than 6m and when working outside the handrails, and thus required the crew to be hooked up with the harness and apply working at heights rules and regulations. The VEC selected design allowed for the ease of substructure construction between trains and for a 60 day possession period to demolish the existing superstructure and piers, place the new crossheads packers and superstructure before re-connecting the rail and re-opening to rail traffic.
VEC know from experience that the construction of precast cross heads filled with in situ grout is a cost effective and achievable solution to the construction of bridge superstructures under limited track closures. The piers were designed in such a way that the crossheads were able to be installed under the existing bridge super structure and will be installed during regular track closures.