Emerald and Charters Towers to benefit from bridge upgrade

National Precast member Stresscrete is manufacturing its unique precast concrete prestressed piles for the Cape River Bridge in regional Queensland.Precast concrete is playing an ever-increasing role in major infrastructure projects across the country. These projects include new facilities as well as upgrading or replacing existing ones.

In Queensland, the state government is currently undertaking a large reconstruction program on some important roadways in the state’s north. South of Charters Towers, the $34.6 million upgrade of the Cape River Bridge is a part of a $77 million investment in the Gregory Developmental Road over the next three years. As well as supporting around 34 regional jobs, the upgrade will deliver a flood-immune bridge that is higher and wider with improved approaches.

Precast concrete helps tight timeline

Queensland precast manufacturer and National Precast member Stresscrete Precast & Prestressed Concrete has been awarded one of the initial contracts for the Cape River Bridge project. The Rockhampton-based company is manufacturing 88 prestressed piles, which are 550 millimetres in diameter and range in length from 11 to 21 metres.

Stresscrete owner and manager Craig Zinn says his factory is purpose-built for projects just like this one. “We’re geared up to produce the style of products that are used in concrete structures such as this, so these piles will be standard manufacture for us,” he says.

The main challenge in producing the bridge piles is the tight timeline. “The timing and delivery is crucial and this part of the project needs to be completed by the end of February 2017,” says Mr. Zinn.

There’s no flexibility for the completion date because construction on the Cape River Bridge upgrade is due to start in April as soon as the wet season ends. “This is a high priority job for us. We have reconfigured our work schedule to fit the job in and get it through the factory in the scheduled time,” he adds, confident of an on-time delivery of the product.

No distance too far

As soon as manufacture is complete, Stresscrete Heavy Haulage will transport the piles more than 600 kilometres to the bridge construction site. Mr. Zinn says this stage of the project should be relatively straightforward because his company is experienced in transporting a range of precast products.

All up, the total load to be transported will weigh a hefty 865 tonnes.

Project future

Stresscrete is eager to work further on this project and plans to bid for components for the next stage, which involves the manufacture and supply of prestressed deck units for the bridge. Once the entire $34.6 million upgrade is finished, the bridge is expected to deliver improved road safety and accessibility between Charters Towers and Emerald.

Client: Queensland Department of Transport & Main Roads

Precast manufacturer: Stresscrete Precast & Prestressed Concrete

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