QR National has completed construction of all eleven rail bridges on the Northern Missing Link, a crucial component of its $1.1 billion Goonyella to Abbot Point (GAP) Expansion Project.
QR National Network Services CEO Michael Carter said it was an important milestone for the GAP project, which is due to have the first trains running across its tracks in early 2012.
“The expansion project has been in full swing for 19 months, and we are now reaching the final stages of construction. Despite the extraordinary wet season which hit Queensland earlier this year, we have continued to deliver the project on behalf of our customers on schedule and within budget,” he said.
The GAP project will increase the rail capacity for export coal transported to the port of Abbot Point to 50 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) by upgrading and connecting the Goonyella and Newlands coal systems.
Mr Carter said the project workforce had to apply innovative techniques during bridge construction to overcome challenges presented by Queensland’s wet weather.
“In completing the bridges, our construction team prevailed over intense rainfall, ongoing creek flows and restricted access to the site due to road flooding,” he said.
“One bridge that was subject to high water flows over an extended period of time required a special crane capable of lifting the 40 tonne bridge beams at a reach of up to 48 metres.”
Construction of the eleven rail bridges used 4,700 square metres of concrete and 950 tonnes of steel reinforcement. Ninety-six bridge beams were installed, each costing more than $20,000 to manufacture.
A staged construction process was undertaken using steel formwork specially designed to enable quick dismantling and reassembling. The design of the formwork also incorporated walkways for working at height, allowing continuous safe access for workers.
QR National and its alliance partner CoalConnect are continuing works on the two road-over-rail bridges on Suttor Developmental Road and Collinsville-Elphinstone Road.
CoalConnect is comprised of QR National, Leighton Contractors, GHD and Kellogg Brown & Root Pty Ltd (KBR).