Wentworth Bridge Lift Span Upgrade
- Publication no: ABC-SAS105-14
- Published: 22 October 2014
Over the Darling River at Wentworth NSW is a unique table top lift span bridge. Originally placed into service in 1969, the bridge has a vertical moveable deck incorporating four independent hydraulic cylinders.After 55 years of service, the bridges lift span mechanism was due for a major upgrade and refit. The bridge had suffered a recent history of short delays to traffic while the lift span was seized in a raised position. It was considered highly likely that a major seizure of the structure was possible, and that the consequences to the community from traffic and emergency services disruptions were very significant.The projects objectives were to upgrade the bridges operating system, including replacement of the four large hydraulic cylinders and drive motor. In addition, safety and efficiency improvements to access and bridge operation were achieved. The major physical challenge surrounded replacing the four 9.5 m cylinders inside the two hollow 15 m deep piers, with minimal interruption to both road and river traffic and minimal impact on the bridge structure. Computer modelling and a full-size trial lift combined to give confidence that it could be done, plus innovative, purpose-designed installation equipment was designed and built. A motivated team from RMS Fleet workshops and contractors combined to complete the $2.7 million project under a tight timeframe and other safety and environmental targets.