Muswellbrook Bridge Replacement Project

  Check out our latest drone footage of our construction of the piled bridge foundations.

Project overview and need

The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) is replacing three bridges (being the Hunter River bridge, Muscle Creek bridge and Bridge Street bridge) with two new bridges within and next to the rail corridor, in Muswellbrook, NSW. The Bridge Street structure will be replaced with a 26 metre long single span concrete bridge, with the Muscle Creek and Hunter River bridges replaced with a combined 176 metre long multi span concrete bridge. Works at the site commenced in mid-June 2020 and the project is expected to be completed in two years. This essential project is required as the existing bridges are nearing the end of their structural design life and are a risk to the reliability of our rail network. Currently, trains are required to reduce speed from 50 km/h to 20 km/h to manage safety and operational risks across the bridges. Approximately 30% of all rail traffic (both passenger and freight) in the Hunter rely on the safe operation of these three bridges.

Area of work

About the project

The primary objective of the project is to maintain and improve network reliability though the replacement of these three bridges critical bridges. The project will include the following features:

  • Track realignment: reduce track maintenance requirements
  • Bridge works: improve network reliability and reduce the frequency of bridge closures for maintenance activities
  • Road works: remove the requirements for a central pier on the New England Highway
  • Operational efficiency: reduce operational noise impacts and reinstate normal line speed through the site.

Worksite mobilisation was completed in June 2020. Construction is programmed to be completed in June 2022. Eight track possessions are required to allow completion of the works, which will include:

  • Site establishment compound area and any laydown areas
  • Retaining wall works
  • Earthworks
  • Piling at Bridge Street
  • Construction of temporary access bridge over Muscle Creek
  • Piling at Hunter River & Muscle Creek
  • Onsite bridge construction
  • Bridge installation
  • Bridge demolition

The project is subject to planning approval under Part 5, Division 5.1 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. A Review of Environmental Factors (REF) has been prepared to consider the environmental impacts of the proposed project. ARTC is both the proponent and the determining authority for the project. The below image illustrates the key stages of the project.

Project progress

The Project is currently in the construction phase. Site establishment compound area and any laydown areas:

  • The site establishment has been completed at both Lower William Street and Fitzgerald Park, Muswellbrook

Retaining wall works:

  • Sheet piling works for the retaining at Bridge Street have now been completed. A Façade panel will be installed onto the face of the sheet piles in mid-2021.

Earthworks:

  • Earthworks for the onsite concrete casting yard are underway. The work will include driven piles and is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2020.

Piling at Bridge Street:

  • Piling works at Bridge Street commenced in the September network shutdown and are scheduled to be completed within the November network shutdown. These works will produce a loud hammering sound for around 20 minutes. These works are scheduled for between 7:00am and 9:00pm.

Construction of temporary access bridge over Muscle Creek:

  • Construction of the temporary bridge is currently underway, with the bridge is currently being launched over Muscle Creek. The temporary bridge is scheduled to be commissioned in late November.

Piling at Hunter River Muscle Creek:

  • Piling works for the Hunter River Muscle Creek Bridge are scheduled to begin in late-November. These works will produce a loud hammering sound for around 10 minutes per pile while the supporting steel sleeve for the concrete pile is hammered in. Overall, there are 22 Piles on this bridge, with the works to be completed in February 2021. All piling works will be completed during standard daytime hours (7.00am to 6.00pm Monday to Friday and 8.00am To 1.00pm on Saturday).

Onsite bridge construction – Bridge St:

  • Onsite bridge construction is currently scheduled to commence in December 2020, with the new Bridge scheduled for commissioning in August 2021. Works for this site will largely be track possession based.  Post commissioning of the Bridge the site and immediate surrounds will be tidied and landscaped with all works associated with the bridge complete by the end of December 2021.

Onsite bridge construction – Hunter River and Muscle Creek:

  • Onsite bridge construction commenced on the Bridge in September 2020, with the Bridge scheduled for commissioning in October 2021. This bridge will be built offline from the existing bridges which allows for the works to be undertaken outside of track possession windows.  The new bridge will be constructed onsite in 8 segments within a specially fabricated casting yard.  The bridge will be constructed using an incremental launch methodology which involves the bridge being progressively launched as the segments are cast.  Post commissioning of the bridge, the site and its immediate surrounds will be tidied and landscaped with all corks complete by the end of June 2022.

Bridge demolition:

  • Onsite bridge demolition is currently scheduled for August 2021 (Bridge St), and February 2022 (Muscle Creek and Hunter River). The Bridge St site involves the demolition of the existing bridge superstructure and central pier.  The existing brick abutments at this site will remain and will become a façade to the new bridge.  This work will occur during the August 2021 track possession during commissioning of the new Bridge St bridge.  The Muscle Creek and Hunter River bridges will be demolished during the February 2022 track possession

A Review of Environmental Factors (REF) was prepared to assess the potential environmental impacts of the proposal. While the formal period for community submissions has now closed, you can view: Bridge St Underbridge Replacement – Review of Environmental Factors Hunter River and Muscle Creek Underbridge Replacement – Review of Environmental Factors

Contact us

If you have any questions, would like to view a hard copy of the REF, or would like to receive project updates, please contact:

  • phone 1300 550 402
  • email enviroline@artc.com.au

Register for project updates

Register for project updates by including your contact details in the online form on the right-side column.

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