Seymour Whyte delivers Australian first at Port of Brisbane

Seymour Whyte has successfully installed Australia’s longest pre-stressed bridge girders for the Port of Brisbane’s $110 million Port Drive Upgrade project, with the longest span measuring 46m.

The design, production, transportation and installation of the Super I-girders were a culmination of 12 months of planning by the project team, which comprised QLD Department of Transport and Main Roads, Seymour Whyte, our client Port of Brisbane and designer Arup. The team worked to develop the girders for a key component of the Port Drive Upgrade – the three-span Lucinda Drive Bridge, which extends 103m over road and rail.

Seymour Whyte Managing Director and CEO Mr John Kirkwood said the girder was developed to remove the risk of working in close proximity to, or having to relocate, a live 33kV underground electricity power supply within the four-line railway corridor. The girder also negated the need for construction or future maintenance work associated with the new bridge within the rail corridor – both major safety benefits considering the live rail environment and its constraints.

“Seymour Whyte is delighted to be part of this project,” he said. “To be part of something big, something innovative that hasn’t been done in Australian before, gives a lot of satisfaction at the company level, the site team and for all our employees and consultants who are involved.”

Port of Brisbane Pty Ltd CEO Mr Roy Cummins said, “Our Port Drive Upgrade project is primarily focused on safety, efficiency and innovation. The design and placement of these Super I-girders –being the longest on any road project in the country – achieves all of these.”

The Super I-girders are one of several major innovations for the project which also incorporates the placement of around 50,000 tonnes of EME2 asphalt – the largest amount placed on a road in Australia. Seymour Whyte worked with the Department of Transport and Main Roads to develop a traffic management plan to get the girders from Beaudesert (80km south of Brisbane) to site on the back of a 79m long haulage vehicle consisting of up to two prime movers and two Goldhofer independently-operated hydraulic trailers.

The logistical complexities of safely managing such a feat called for a 156km haulage route to avoid built-up areas and ensure the roads travelled could handle such large and heavy vehicles. Each girder took an overnight journey of up to nine hours. Once at site, a 630-tonne (400T+230T counter weight) crawler crane was required to lift the girders, with the 46m one weighing some 140 tonnes.

The project is also targeting an ‘Excellent’ rating for ‘Design’ and ‘As-Built’ with the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA). More than 3.1 million vehicles travel on port roads every year and when complete, the $110 million Port Drive Upgrade project will deliver greater safety and efficiency for decades to come.The first of the Super I-girders being transported to site under escortThe first of the Super I-girders being transported to site under escort

Close-up view of a girder on the back of a Goldhofer hydraulic trailers, pulled by a prime mover   The 46m Super-I girder being lifted into place on Lucinda Drive Bridge with a 630-tonne crawler craneThe 46m Super-I girder being lifted into place on Lucinda Drive Bridge with a 630-tonne crawler crane

The 44m Super-I girder being lifted into place on Lucinda Drive Bridge with a 630-tonne crawler crane The 44m Super-I girder being lifted into place on Lucinda Drive Bridge with a 630-tonne crawler crane