Restoring access - Belowra Valley bridges

The Belowra community was left isolated after the 2019 New Year’s Eve bushfires destroyed four crucial timber bridges. Our teams were soon on the scene to assess the damage and arrange temporary crossings.

Work is underway to replace all four bridges with permanent structures that are more fire and flood resilient. Given the scale of the damage, we are relying on financial assistance from the NSW and Federal governments to get the job done. It's been a long road but we are almost there.

Check out the progress so far.

The damage: Completely destroyed

Current status: Passable on the new bridge under construction

The plan: Rebuild the bridge using the InQuik Bridging System during March to July 2021

A mulit-span timber bridge passes over a wide riverbed
Pre-fire: The multi-span bridge before the bushfire

The low timber bridge is burnt to the ground leaving large timbers sitting in the dry creek bed surrounded by burnt forest
January 2020: After the New Year's Eve bushfire

Concrete barriers contain a temporary road built across the dry creek bed
January 2020: A side track was quickly established to a allow temporary access

Flood waters race down the creek where the bridge used to be
February 2020: Flood waters swept away the temporary track after heavy rain

People work to build the new bridge alongside the temporary access track
March 2020: Progress was underway with the more resilient temporary timber bridge

A timber bridge crosses the creek and the adjacent crossing has been removed
May 2020: The temporary timber bridge is complete and the temporary side track removed

A loader works to restore access across atimber bridge
July 2020: Flood waters wreaked havoc on the road approaching the temporary bridge

A tracked machine drills vertical piles adjacent to the old timber bridge.
April 2021: A drill rig preps the site for the new bridge piles

A bridge abutment and piers under construction sit alongside a low timber bridge
April 2021: Construction of the piers show the new bridge will be substantially higher than the temporary structure

A steel and concrete structure under construction sits above a creek adjacent to a low timber bridge
June 2021: Formwork for new deck shows the height of the new bridge

A new concrete bridge under construction sits alongside a relatively small and low timber bridge
July 2021: The concrete deck is in place

Guardrail lines a concrete bridge on a dirt road.
21 July 2021: Traffic is directed off the temporary timber bridge and on to the new bridge

The damage: Completely destroyed

Current status: Permanent access restored

The work: A side track was created, then recreated after it was washed away, to maintain access until the bridge was replaced using the InQuik Bridging System during November 2020 to March 2021

The timber bridge sits amid she oak trees
Pre-fire: The picturesque timber bridge amid the she oak trees

The road drops off suddenly where the bridge used to be
January 2020: A sudden drop-off where the bridge used to be

What remains of the timber bridge now lies a few metres below on the dry creek bed
January 2020: Little remains of the old timber bridge

A steel pipe runs under the road supported by large concrete blocks
March 2020: The temporary fix provides access again

A side track runs adjacent to the burnt out bridge
May 2020: The side track sits adjacent to the ruins of the old bridge

Flood waters have washed away large sections of the temporary crossing
July 2020: Flood waters ripped through the temporary side track

Blocks and logs support material laid to form a creek crossing
July 2020: The temporary crossing is restored after the flood

A bridge under construction sits above a narrow stream of water
February 2021: The new bridge structure is in place awaiting a road surface

A dirt road leads to a concrete bridge lined with guardrail
March 2021: The bridge is finished and opened to traffic on 1 March 2021

The damage: Completely destroyed

Current status: Permanent access restored

The work: Establishment of a temporary side track before replacing the bridge with a concrete structure

A single span timber bridge crosses a small gully
Pre-fire: The single-span bridge before the bushfire

Two burnt timber bridge girders straddle a dry creek bed
January 2020: The damage

A dirt side track winds around the side of the burnt out bridge
January 2020: A dirt side track provides access around the bridge

A dirt road passes over concrete pipes where the timber bridge once sat
February 2020: The permanent replacement opened the road on 26 February

The damage: Completely destroyed

Current status: Permanent access restored

The work: Establishment of a temporary side track before replacing the bridge with triple cell piped culverts during March to June 2021

A short timber bridge sits amid the forest
Pre-fire: The bridge sat in a lush forest

The bridge abutment walls no longer exist and the burnt girders straddle a dry creek bed
January 2020: The bridge abutment walls no longer exist and little is left of the deck

A side track winds around the burnt out bridge
January 2020: A temporary track winds around the burnt out bridge

A side track winds around the burnt out bridge
May 2020: The temporary side track was washed away by flood waters and later rebuilt

Rows of gabion baskets and rocks are stepped up a steep slope
March 2021: Gabion baskets are installed for the water spillway downhill from the bridge

An excavator places gravel around concrete culverts that go beneath a dirt road.
April 2021: The concrete culverts are in place and the new road is being built above

An excavator works above three concrete culverts positioned above gabion rock baskets
May 2021: The bridge replacement was opened to traffic in early May

Other areas

More info

For more information about restoring access, please contact our Project Engineer for fire-damaged bridges, Lew Oldfield: