Alice River Bridge reconstruction complete

After extensive flood damage repairs, Alice River Bridge reopened in late June 2019 – two months earlier than expected – followed by the completion of works in early July.

The bridge, on Hervey Range Road west of Townsville, was severely damaged during the North and Far North Queensland Monsoon Trough event in early 2019. Floodwaters caused significant erosion of the river bed around the bridge foundations, including critical damage to the bridge’s western abutment. Due to the severity of the damage, the bridge was immediately closed to all traffic and a diversion route established.

In mid-February 2019, once floodwaters had subsided and it was safe for crews and engineers to access the site, Transport and Main Roads (TMR) commenced assessments – including environmental and cultural heritage requirements – to determine the best way to repair the damage. In March 2019, crews used heavy machinery to remove large amounts of debris from around the bridge foundations, allowing structural engineers to inspect the bridge piers and piles.

Based on these assessments, TMR estimated repair works could take up to six months to complete.

The department completed design work and RoadTek commenced repairs in April 2019. The initial focus was on earthworks around the bridge piers and backfilling the scours at both bridge abutments. Rock protection was then placed over this material to prevent further erosion.

On the western approach, the bridge’s damaged concrete margins and approach slab were cut away, then crews rebuilt the bridge approach by backfilling and compacting material in 200mm layers, to a total height of five metres. Crews then constructed the new concrete margins and approach slab on the western abutment.

Repairs progressed so well that the bridge was able to reopen under traffic control on 26 June 2019. Final works, including final rock protection works and site reinstatement, were completed in early July.

Eligible reconstruction works were jointly funded by the Commonwealth and Queensland Governments under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA).