THE Dyrings Road bridge over Stockyard Creek at Foster is very close to being re-opened.
If it doesn’t occur today, the bridge should be open by the end of this week or into next week – it is weather dependent.
There might still be a roadwork speed limit applied as signage and line marking has to be carried out and the lines are best done after the seal has settled a little more.
As at last Friday, all that was needed to finish off the brand new bridge was to have the deck and immediate approaches sealed with bitumen.
Provided the weather is favourable, the sealing was planned for the following Monday and the seal then requires a few days to cure before it can be driven on.
Bridge contractor Peter Hourigan of Hourigan & Walsh Pty Ltd of Traralgon, the third generation of his family in the business, commented that due to the visibility of the work site to pedestrians using the Great Southern Rail Trail, it was “the most publicly scrutinized bridge I’ve built.”
While passers-by may have thought the contractors kept disappearing from the job, Peter explained that in the particular style of construction used, there were several times when for sound construction reasons, things had to be left to set or cure.
“It is part of the Australian Standards we work to, and we have a lot of certification tests conducted during the build which we have to give to the Shire as proof that everything has been done to required standard.
“We can’t continue work until the test results are known.”
As examples, Peter said that the concrete had to sit without loading on it for a set period, and that tensioned steel within the concrete casing of the beams was first tightened and later loosened as part of the process.
“There’s no point in being on site if we can’t work,” he said.
“The manufacture of the neoprene pads went offshore and consequently they took several weeks longer than expected to arrive, and the specialist crane we hired from Melbourne to lift the 28-tonne beams into place had a break down in Melbourne and didn’t arrive until 4.00pm on the day it was booked”.
At times the contractors worked at weekends and into the evening to keep their work flow on track.
Peter is clearly passionate about his work and is proud of doing a good job.
Council Project Officer Heinz Zajac, who has inspected the contractors work on a daily basis throughout the construction, noted that the bridge approach alignment had only been slightly straightened for two reasons.
One is because to straighten the alignment would mean the bridge and roadworks were longer, which significantly raised the total cost.
The second is because for environmental reasons, the mature eucalypts close to the bridge could not be removed, and they were in the path of a potential realignment.
The budget for the new bridge that has been constructed was $416 500.