A new bridge along a key freight route for Queensland’s North Burnett region was officially opened this week.
The new John Peterson Bridge on Mundubbera-Durong Road replaces the previous flood-prone, single-lane, timber girder bridge with a higher, two-lane concrete structure on a safer and straighter alignment, shortening the overall route by about 700m.
In order to minimise traffic disruptions, construction crews built the new bridge offline while motorists continued to use the old timber bridge that was built in 1925.
The new bridge first opened to traffic in June, following 18 months of construction.
“In addition to the safety the economic benefits, the new bridge has reduced the need for ongoing maintenance, and improved traffic efficiency,” said Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey.
“The posted speed limit has been lifted from 60km/hr to 100km/hr and two lanes of traffic are able to cross simultaneously. This is a significant improvement upon the former one-lane, give way arrangement on the old bridge.”
The project also included work on the approaches to the bridge, with upgrades to the Hawkwood and Beeron Roads intersections.
The old John Peterson Bridge was built in 1925 and designed to withstand submergence during flooding of the Boyne River. It was first submerged only two years later in 1927, and then almost every year between 1927 and 1935.
During the 2010-11 summer season flood events, the existing bridge was closed to traffic for around 21 days.
The bridge has been critical in supporting the region’s agricultural industry. The first bridge provided a connection over the Boyne River for local dairy farmers accessing the Mundubbera butter factory.
Today it is a key freight route, with around 25 per cent of the roughly 475 vehicles using the bridge each day being heavy vehicles.
“Mundubbera Durong Road is a main thoroughfare that carries thousands of vehicles every week, including heavy vehicles laden with cattle, timber and grain,” added Assistant Minister for Train Manufacturing and Regional Roads Bruce Saunders.
“We know a more reliable and safer bridge with greater flood immunity brings a wealth of advantages.
“The higher bridge’s new alignment improves the flood immunity to only one per cent likelihood of being flooded in any given year and will maintain network connectivity on this important freight route.”