Government investigates replacement of Barron River Bridge

The State Government has confirmed it’s investigating replacing the Barron River Bridge on the Kennedy Highway at Kuranda, following months of speculation over the current structure’s safety and stability.

In October last year, the 60 year-old bridge – linking Cairns to the Atherton Tablelands – was reduced to one lane and a 50-tonne load limit was imposed as engineers conducted investigations.

Tropic Now has been awaiting the outcome of a Right to Information request regarding the structural state and possible future of the bridge.

The Department of Transport and Main Roads has now announced it’s investing $2.1-million to assess the best long-term solution to providing a safe, reliable crossing of the Barron River.

Options of replacement or rehabilitation will be investigated.

In the meantime, urgent repair works are being carried out after faults were discovered in steel welds.

"In late October 2020, routine inspections identified fatigue in some steel elements," said North Queensland Regional Director Sanjay Ram.

"These issues have been caused by the accumulated impacts of heavy vehicles crossing the river over many years.

“Our bridge inspectors are continuing bridge investigations to make repairs.

"They’re checking 1000 individual welds and repairing them as they go.

"To date, about 300 welds have been inspected, with around half of those identified for repair."

Traffic control will remain in place for at least the next six months while the repairs continue.

The State Government has always insisted the crossing remains safe.