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Victorian-first construction method used on Gippsland rail bridge

The Princes Highway East Upgrade's Kilmany rail-over-road bridge under construction.

A Victorian-first in rail bridge construction is approaching a big project milestone on the Princes Highway East Upgrade.

Construction on the Kilmany rail-over-road bridge, located between Traralgon and Sale in Victoria’s Gippsland region is approaching completion and will soon undertake a 27m slide into its final location over the coming months.

With 16 steel arch segments craned into place and 1000 cubic metres of concrete poured to create the deck, approximately 3000 tonnes of materials have been installed on the bridge, equivalent to nearly 50 E-Class Trams or 500 elephants. The final bridge design is set to weigh 3200 tonnes.

These works on the rail bridge have been built “offline” to allow train services to run as normal while the construction team gets everything prepared to minimise disruptions to both road and rail users.

This construction method is rare in Australian construction history. Once the 95m-long steel rail arch bridge has been completed on site, crews will carefully slide it 27m into place to form part of the Gippsland rail line. From there, work will start to dig underneath the bridge, where the Princes Highway will run under the rail line, making for easier road and rail journeys throughout Gippsland for residents, commuters, and visitors alike.

The new rail-over-road bridge is part of the third and final stage of the Princes Highway East Upgrade and will replace the existing rail underpass that was built around 1965.

The striking new design was developed in consultation with the Department of Transport, V/Line, and the local community and will provide a significant improvement to safety and reliability for freight, tourists, and commuters.

The bridge at Kilmany is a “network tied-arch” bridge, comprising a steel arch either side of the railway track, a concrete bridge deck, and a network of high-strength steel “hangers” that cross over each other, tying the steel arches firmly to the deck.

The bridge slide is set to happen during a rail closure in the next couple of months once the offline bridge construction is complete. Working 24/7 over the course of a week, the construction team will slide the new bridge into place using a slide channel and hydraulic jack on a sledge.

Once in position, new ballast and tracks will be laid and following stringent quality and safety inspections, the first train will cross the new rail bridge.

The Princes Highway East Upgrade will add 43kms of new lanes to the Princes Highway between Traralgon and Sale. This is the third and final stage of the project, which will add an extra 12km of consistent two-lane highway.

The Princes Highway East Upgrade is due to be completed in 2024.

 

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