In a speech in the NSW Legislative Assembly, Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall outlined how Glen Innes fabricator Weir Built and the Glen Innes Severn Council developed an innovative use of timber to rebuild its rural bridges at a fraction of the cost of using concrete.
Mr Marshall said Weir Built and the Glen Innes council should be acknowledged for devising a process of replacing its timber bridges that could be of national interest.
“The council and Jay Weir have developed an innovative use of timber to rebuild its rural bridges at a fraction of the cost of using concrete,” he said.
“The humble timber bridge could make a return because of the example being set by Glen Innes Severn Council and Jay Weir.
Council’s Director of Infrastructure Services Keith Appleby used a locally-devised laminated timber bridge deck that has the same load rating and longevity as a concrete deck, and is modular for easy transport and installation.
Most importantly, the laminated decks mean that old timber bridges can be rebuilt for less than half the cost of pouring a new concrete bridge.
“The implications of this concept cannot be overstated,”Mr Marshall said.
“For rural councils struggling with unsustainable bridge upgrade schedules, Keith Appleby and Jay Weir have developed a solution that may allow them to double their rate of replacement.
“When timber bridges are replaced, it is almost invariably with a concrete structure,
But Glen Innes Severn Council has just replaced the Nine Mile Bridge near Dundee for a cost of just $400,000 – which is $600,000 less than the $1 million it would have cost to build a concrete bridge.”
Jay Weir said after consulting with the Glen Innes council he came up with a solution as to how to build the bridge.
“We have a really good design now that could go a long way and be utilised in a lot of single lane bridges around the Australian shires,” he said.
“We did everything locally from sourcing and processing the timber and manufactured the bridge it was all done in Glen Innes.
“We are chasing grants to implement our new design and hopefully we can make bridges here for the whole country, I’d like to see this take off because I can employ more people, more locals and so I’m keen to get this going and keep the money in the town.”
Mr Appleby said council is very pleased with the completion of the Nine Mile Bridge by Weir Built.
“Jay Weir has taken the concept from the NSW RMS timber bridge manual to a new level,” he said.
“Manufacturing the deck units in his purpose built equipment; Jay has really shown that his Glen Innes business is more than capable of setting new standards in the industry.
“Council is also very grateful for the trust the Dundee community invested in us, and I am pleased that we have delivered what we promised – a new bridge using local businesses wherever possible.”
After the official opening on Friday the unsaleable timber from the old bridge formed a community bonfire at the site that started a celebration locals enjoyed into the evening.