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InQuik bridge installed by Bellingen Shire Council: designed, built and open for traffic in 4 months, with 4 days on-site to install.

The single lane timber bridge over Reids Creek on Kalang Road was on an important transport route servicing school buses and farms, which became impacted after an 18t load limit was placed on the deteriorating structure. Considering the urgency of replacement, as well as the Council’s tight budget, flood risk and safety concerns, Bridge Knowledge and InQuik were engaged in early February 2017 with the goal of having a permanent bridge open for traffic within 4 months.

About

Last year Bellingen Shire Council’s Asset Management & Design Department commissioned consultants to undertake condition and structural assessments of 81 of the Shire's timber bridges. This assessment has led to the development of a timber bridge replacement program. The replacement program would be supported by the Council’s bridge works team who have a solid understanding of the Shire's timber bridge network. Council has considerable experience within the bridge team, with the Supervisor having 16 years bridge building experience, and the Works Coordinator 30-year local Government infrastructure maintenance & construction experience. For the timber bridges under their care, it’s always a question of rehabilitate or replace and ideally the potential for an upgrade to dual lane for safety, while meeting AS5100 standards with a 100-year design life.

Bellingen Council maintains over 134 bridges across the Shire, and has committed to an investment in local infrastructure, in particular roads and bridges. Following the completion of a Timber Bridge Assessment Project last financial year, Council now has detailed reports on the condition and structural capacity of its entire timber bridge network. Prior to the recent bridge replacements, Council managed 84 timber road bridge structures. With the recent completion of the Reids Creek Bridge and two other bridge replacement projects, the total number of timber bridges remaining is currently 81.

Challenge

Following an unsatisfactory result from a tender process, Bellingen Council decided to seek alternatives to progress the replacement of Reids Creek Bridge. Council had a tight window of 4 months to design, fabricate and construct a dual lane AS5100 bridge to satisfy grant funding requirements associated with the Federal Bridges Renewal Programme. The site works included installing an on-site temporary bridge and side track, demolish the old timber bridge, and associated road works on both sides to support the dual lane replacement.

As well as widening the bridge from single to double-lane, the project raised the height of the structure for better flood immunity, and included high strength tie downs for the bridge deck. The new bridge was also to improve road safety, as the old timber bridge had kerbs with a “no barrier performance level” rating, whereas the new bridge needed improved traffic barriers of “low barrier performance level”. The Council tender required a 100-year design life to AS5100 standard and lower long-term maintenance.

Council was also keen to find a solution that their experienced Work Crew could install. They’d previously used precast concrete systems and the team, who were used to forming up abutments/headstocks, could clearly see the value in the InQuik prefabricated design to meet the tight project timeline.

How We Helped

The InQuik system was selected as it met all the above structural criteria, as well as the tight timeline for design and construct. The Council could install the bridge with the support of the InQuik and Bridge Knowledge team, and the project provided an opportunity to assess the ease of install of the innovative design, for its potential to replace many of the ageing timber bridges in the Shire. The InQuik solution would help to shorten the window on road closures, accelerate the timeline of bridge upgrades, and the Council could potentially double or triple the number of bridge upgrades done in a year depending on funding/budgets.

The InQuik Bridge was installed predominantly by the Council Works Department, and it was fully project managed by the Council to ensure it was delivered on time, in scope and within a tight budget. The full bridge project was a collaborative process, with InQuik and Bridge Knowledge being on-site and engaged to coordinate with Bellingen Shire Council for the design and supply of the bridge.

Results

Bellingen Council was very happy to see the support provided by the InQuik, Bridge Knowledge and ARC team during the installation of their first InQuik bridge. Being able to discuss the design and offer feedback directly to the team ensures that the product meets the key goals of efficiency and ease of install. Some time was spent ensuring the deck trays were sealed correctly prior to the concrete pour, and the Bellingen team were very happy with the simple design of the InQuik deck panels. Installation took 3-4 days and Bellingen’s feedback was, “Great product, good team response to feedback and saves time, labour and WHS risks”.

“The InQuik bridge solution used to replace Reids Creek Bridge delivered an AS5100 compliant structure and achieved significant project time savings. The design and installation of the bridge system requires minimal formwork and steel fixing on site, steel reinforcing is fully fixed within the formwork, ensuring full quality control, precise steel clearances and concrete tolerances within each component. Components are lightweight making it easy to position on site and quick to install without the use of heavy cranes. The feedback from Council’s Bridge Crew during the construction phase was very positive and the finished structure has met all my expectations.” – Phil Buchan, Manager – Asset Management & Design, Bellingen Shire Council

 Key Project Points: 

  • The InQuik and ARC team provided on-site assistance, and direct feedback was welcomed to suggested process and product enhancements.
  • Efficient installation, as small cranes were used on a narrow road corridor, minimising road closures, and avoiding the cost and complexity of large cranes and crane pads.
  • Minimised safety and WHS risks due to lightweight components, top down installation and reduced site time.
  • Shortened construction time ensuring fewer delays for road users, although one of the Bellingen team did say he’d “miss the time on site with his colleagues doing formwork, as that’s now all done in the factory with InQuik”.
  • The simple InQuik design and speed of installation means that the council can now plan projects better, and the focus is on just getting the piling right, as the InQuik system goes in easily once the prep work is done
  • Minimised the environmental impact on the waterway.