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14 April, 2021

Engineer says bridge works way overdue

A RENOWNED Australian engineer has revealed current integrity improvement works along Kuranda’s Barron River Bridge are long overdue after he first identified potential problem areas within the 60-year-old structure more than five years ago.


By Michael Warren

A RENOWNED Australian engineer has revealed current integrity improvement works along Kuranda’s Barron River Bridge are long overdue after he first identified potential problem areas within the 60-year-old structure more than five years ago. 

Malanda property owner Don Fry OA said a personal inspection of the bridge when he previously lived in the region led him to conclude the aging structure needed immediate attention – despite a guarantee from Transport and Main Roads (TMR) that it was in fine working order. 

“About 6-10 years ago I drove over the Bridge and decided to turn around and look under it,” a curious Mr Fry told The Express

“I was surprised to find a number of post stressed longitudinal bars reinforcing the bottom chord of many girders. I noticed some of these bars were vibrating excessively responding to bridge traffic. Some of the bars (also) seemed to be loose. 

“Knowing the bridge strength depends on maintaining shear bonding between the concrete road path and steel girders.

 “As I did not recall the tension bars being in the original design I contacted (TMR) in Cairns and suggested the integrity of the bridge was suspect and should be inspected immediately. 

“Some weeks later I received a call to advise the bridge had recently been inspected and all was okay.” 

A TMR spokesperson confirmed with The Express just days ago that workers continue to check 1000 individual welds on the bridge with around 150 to date, from a confirmed 300 completed checks, requiring repair. 

 As it stands, the bridge only remains open to one lane of traffi c each way with works expected to continue into the coming months. 

Meanwhile, a defiant Bob Katter has again suggested current repair works on the controversial bridge is a waste of time, the Federal MP instead publicly calling for the creation of a fast-tracked superhighway to connect Mareeba and the wider Tablelands with Cairns.

Katter’s proposed route would see drivers take the existing Kennedy Highway via Clohesy River and then straight towards Redlynch, a picturesque outer suburb of Cairns.

 Katter claimed during a public rally in Mareeba just days ago the new road would take drivers a mere 30 minutes one way to complete, knocking off around 35-40 minutes of the usual hour journey between the two locations. 

■ To read Don Fry’s full statement click the button below.  



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