Council’s bridge crew will expand their specialised skill set by using a new pile wrapping technique on St Agnes bridge.
The 56-metre bridge is the main access point for the Goodnight Scrub area and is a preferred route for trucks hauling cattle and timber.
The four-person crew has been working on the second stage of bridge restoration this month to return the bridge to an open load limit.
The bridge is almost ready for pile wrapping contractors who will also train crew members.
Tony Wright, who coordinates engineering works for the region’s hinterland area, said timber pile wrapping was a relatively new technique to improve the structure’s durability and integrity.
“This is the first time we’ve used this new product on one of the Bundaberg Region’s timber bridges,” Tony said.
“It’s a technique that can protect the timber piles from water damage.
“Our crew will undertake training from the contractor to gain a certificate in pile wrapping.
“This will mean they can finish off the remaining timber bridges requiring pile wrapping.”
With 24 timber traffic bridges and 28 timber pedestrian bridges to maintain throughout the region, Tony said the training would deliver efficiency and cost savings in the long term.
Council’s qualified bridge carpenter Hunter Cole said he enjoyed working on the bridge, which he estimated was about 70 years old.
“It still has some of the original timbers in it,” Hunter said.
“We did the first four spans a couple of years ago and now we’re just doing the last three spans.”
Hunter said it could be difficult work at times.
“You know you’re alive at the end of the day, especially with this old bridge here,” he said.
“Some of these old bolts and that you’ll spend an hour on a sledge hammer trying to drive them out.
“And then some of them too are over a meter and a half long and if they’re fairly tight you know where your day’s at!”
Hunter said bridge carpentry was a dying trade but in his opinion timber bridges “hold up a lot better than concrete”.
“Rebuilding these bridges, it’s slowly dying you know,” he said.
“A lot of people can’t go in and fix these timber bridges where me and the boys they can sort of head in there and fix them.
“It’s a good job.”