Historic Bridge At Kilcunda Set For Refurbishment
The historic Bourne Creek Trestle Bridge in Kilcunda will undergo a refusbishment after a detailed engineering inspection recently.
Access to the beneath the bridge, closed with orange safety mesh fencing earlier this year, will now be fenced off with a suitable temporary fence designed for safety, with minimal visual impact over the work period.
Bass Coast Shire Council commissioned the detailed inspection as part of its routine asset inspection and monitoring program.
Bridge engineers used climbing ropes to abseil from the deck of the bridge and conduct the inspection over a two day period.
Anderson Ward Councillor, Bradley Drew, said although the structure was considered to be very sound for its current pedestrian use, the inspection identified that many of the original metal components will need to be replaced.
“Some of the original bolts and brackets under the deck of the bridge were loose from extensive corrosion and continue to be a danger of falling until they are replaced,” Cr Drew said.
“For this reason, Council has mitigated the immediate risk to the public by closing off the access underneath the bridge.”
Cr Drew said this precautionary measure will be in place for at least two years until the bridge refurbishment works are complete.
Access to Kilcunda foreshore is available about 50 metres to the east of the bridge via an official path.
“The inspection resulted in no safety concerns regarding access across the bridge and it is anticipated that the bridge will remain open for the majority of the refurbishment works,” Cr Drew said.
“The public will be notified in advance of any interruption to access over the bridge.”
“The refurbishment has been added to Council’s maintenance and renewal program and the works will return the structure to a safe and serviceable condition over a two year period.
“The refurbishment will be staged and include make safe works for falling debris, followed by renewal and strengthening works which will ensure the historic bridge for generations to come.”
The history of the Bridge
The Bourne Creek Trestle Bridge is an iconic former rail bridge located in the spectacular surrounds of Kilcunda.
The bridge was constructed in 1911 and was used extensively by steam trains to transport coal from Wonthaggi coal fields to Melbourne.
The Kilcunda Bridge is the tallest and most substantial on the Woolamai–Wonthaggi rail line, with a total deck span of 91 metres and a maximum height of 12 metres.
The rail line to Wonthaggi officially closed on 21 November, 1978 and the Bourne Creek Bridge remains as a landmark feature of the region and a pedestrian, bicycle and horse riding link on the Bass Coast Rail Trail.
The historic bridge is unique in its construction and is a highly prominent structure which sits in a coastal dune setting beside the Bass Highway.
The bridge is one of the most exposed to public view of any major Victorian timber trestle rail bridge and has value to local community and visitors alike.
The bridge is included on the National Trust, Victorian Heritage database. For any questions, please contact 1300BCOAST (226 278).