No end in sight for Burnett Traffic Bridge works
BUNDABERG'S Burnett Traffic Bridge is a key part of our town's history, but work on the structure has had it hidden under a veil of timber sheeting and mesh for a number of years.
The 119-year-old bridge is undergoing maintenance and rehabilitation works which began in 2016 to ensure it will continue to handle both current and future traffic demand.
A Transport and Main Roads spokeswoman said the ongoing program involved structural repairs, blasting works to remove old lead-based paint and rust, recoating with non-lead-based paint and a new paint protection system.
"The structure's age and size means the rehabilitation program is significant and ongoing,” the spokeswoman said.
"The process is expected to take many years, but TMR is committed to preserving this important part of Bundaberg's history and ensuring the bridge continues to serve as a vital road link.”
The removal of lead paint from the bridge poses serious health hazards for the bridge crew, the community and surrounding environment if not controlled appropriately.
"Several air quality devices are set up around the bridge to test and monitor airborne particles on a regular basis,” the spokeswoman said.
When there is a change in lead levels, processes and procedures are reviewed and plant and equipment are checked.
"The crew undergoes regular blood testing to monitor lead levels within their bodies (and) individual test results have not exceeded the specified levels at any stage of the works.”
The bridge crew undertook an extensive procedural review late last year following a third-party report of possible lead contamination, which resulted in some minor alterations to the process to further minimise the extremely low risk.
Water and river bed sampling is also regularly undertaken. Recent additional sampling and consequent testing did not indicate any elevation above the base line level of lead content.
While at this stage it seems there is no set completion date, the spokeswoman said the new paint protection being applied to the Burnett Traffic Bridge would prevent active corrosion for the next 15 years.