The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) is carrying out a major maintenance shutdown on the Hunter Valley Rail Network beginning on the 25 May 2021, using innovative new technology to construct the new Muswellbrook Bridge replacements. 

Construction of the Muswellbrook Bridge replacement project is using an incremental launch process involving the eight sections of the bridge being built in phases onsite in a specially fabricated casting yard. 

A three-day shutdown will take place from Newcastle to Ulan, allowing 1,200 maintenance workers to gain safe access to the track, where they will conduct over 212 separate maintenance jobs across the network.

The first six to eight weeks of construction will focus on the first section with a launch scheduled for mid to late June.

“The first section will take longer to complete and then the remaining seven will take around three weeks each,” ARTC Group Executive Hunter Valley Network, Wayne Johnson, said.  

“There are a number of benefits to using this construction technique. While it does take a little longer, it’s substantially less intrusive to the natural environment which has been identified as key fish habitat and the trees in the area are home to a significant population of protected Grey-Headed Flying-Fox.

“This type of technique is more commonly observed in the construction of road bridges rather than rail but is good for building bridges that require large span lengths and we would utilise this process again for any future bridge projects,” Mr Johnson said.

Mr Johnson said the bridge will be built away from the construction site of the existing bridges to allow for the works to continue outside of scheduled track possessions. 

The project’s completion date is scheduled for June 2022.

For more information about The Muswellbrook Bridge project or other rail works, click here

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