Bridge work continues

CONSTRUCTION continues to progress on the new bridge over the Avon River, with 18 of the bridge’s massive beams lifted into place.

The 60-tonne, 30-metre-long beams will form the superstructure of the new bridge and with half of them now in place, crews have been able to attach walls to the sides of the bridge and begin pouring the concrete deck slab.

The local community has also been given a sneak peek at what the bridge will look like when completed, with artist’s impressions showing how the new bridge will sit in the Stratford landscape next to the existing heritage-listed bridge.

Construction has been taking place under strict protocols to protect the health and safety of construction workers and the community, which has allowed this project to continue.

In coming months, 18 more beams will be lifted into place by 250-tonne and 450-tonne crawler cranes.

The remaining walls of the bridge will then be attached and the concrete deck slab poured.

Crews have worked about 60,000 hours on the project since construction began in November last year.

The new bridge will be 504 metres long and will allow trains to travel at up to 90kmh in this section, a vast improvement on the 10kmh speed limit in place on the existing bridge.

The new bridge is being delivered as part of the Gippsland Line Upgrade and is targeted for completion in early 2021.

In other news, acclaimed local artist Ray Thomas has been selected to paint a mural on a wall of the new bridge over the Avon River as part of the project’s improvements to Apex Park.

An award-winning artist with more than three decades’ experience, Mr Thomas’ works are inspired by the stories and designs of the Gunaikurnai people, as well as the Gippsland country they call home.

He was selected from a shortlist of Gippsland-based artists and his mural will feature the Avon River as a theme, as selected by Stratford locals earlier this year.

The mural will be about 25 metres long and two metres high, and will be painted on the wall of the new bridge, overlooking Apex Park.

The design will incorporate images that represent the history of the local area, and he has invited the local community to submit photos for potential use in the mural.

Interested people with historical photos that represent the building, farming and landscape history of the Wellington Shire Council area can submit their photos to by next Monday, September 14.

Construction on the new rail bridge over the Avon River is progressing, and crews will be working extended hours to ensure the critical works are finished as soon as possible.

This means there will be occasional night works from 5pm to 3am and works on Sundays from 7am to 5pm.

Nearby residents will be notified in advance of any planned works taking place overnight or on Sundays.

Noisier construction activities won’t continue after 9pm.

Regional Rail Victoria will ensure noise and disruptions are minimised as much as possible while the work is underway.