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Work starts on nation's longest bridge

25 July 2011

Abigroup has started construction on what will become Australia’s longest operating road bridge close to Kempsey in northern NSW.

The Macleay River and Floodplain Bridge will be 3.2km long and Abigroup is responsible for the design and construction of the $185 million project for the RTA.

Acting NSW Premier Andrew Stoner and Senator Matt Thistlethwaite were onsite to witness the first of the 394 piles, which will form the bridge’s foundations, being driven into the ground at a ceremony held on 21 July to mark the start of work.

Mr Stoner said the structure will eventually span the Macleay River in the north – a distance of about 300 metres – and the floodplain to the south.

“The design also calls for 93 support piers, including eight in the river, spaced 34 metres apart, with the deck of the bridge to be formed using 941 concrete beams – or ‘super-T’ girders – each weighing 65 tonnes,” he said.

L to R: The Hon. Andrew Stoner MP (NSW Deputy Premier, Member for Oxley), Al McKinnon (RTA Senior Project Manager), Senator Matt Thistlethwaite (Federal Senator for NSW), Chris Pefkos (Abigroup Project Director) & Bob Higgins (RTA General Manager Pacific Highway Upgrade)

The bridge forms part of the fully-Federally funded Kempsey Bypass which will consist of a 14.5-kilometre, four-lane divided road to the east of the existing Pacific Highway.

Mr Thistlethwaite, who was representing Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese, said the need to erect a 3.2 kilometre long bridge straddling the Macleay River and nearby floodplain was just one of many engineering challenges that will need to be solved before the Pacific Highway is finally done.

“Completion of the entire bypass in mid-2013 – twelve months ahead of schedule – will take 2,000 trucks a day off the local streets of Kempsey as well as provide safer, quicker driving conditions for all users of this section of highway,” he added.

Abigroup’s 100 per cent owned subsidiary Australian Precast Solutions will produce the 941 Super-T girders required for this landmark project. Abigroup secured the Macleay River and Floodplain Bridge project at the end of 2010.

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