Sorell embraces innovation

Sorell Council has taken an innovative approach to bridge replacement and, at the same time, has achieved a technological first in Tasmania.

Council recognised that the timber bridge across Sedbury Creek, which provides the only access into Marion Bay, was at the end of its life span and needed to be replaced. The area included some difficult terrain, environmental constraints and access restrictions that had to be taken into consideration during the bridge replacement planning process.

Following a detailed investigation, Sorell Council decided to replace the bridge with a modular type of bridge called Unibridge, which delivers pedestrian and vehicular access that can be temporarily or permanently placed.

The new bridge will be installed by its distributor — GR Bridge Solutions — with assistance from Council staff where appropriate.
Unibridge is not only cost-effective, but boasts a range of other advantages over typical construction methods. The unique technology allows the bridge to be prefabricated off-site with an installation timeframe of days instead of weeks.

The Unibridge structure is designed as a permanent bridge that can be enlarged with the addition of extra beams; it can also be dismantled and reassembled elsewhere in a matter of days. It is designed to last at least 100 years and handle two million 80-tonne vehicle crossing cycles per annum.

Perhaps most significantly, this is the first time that a Unibridge will be installed in Tasmania. Sorell Council is thrilled about using the innovative technology and the benefits it will bring to the community.

Mayor Kerry Vincent said that the Unibridge provided a superior alternative to other replacement options.

“The industry norm, which is to replace and upgrade timber bridges to concrete standards, presented some significant challenges. The Marion Bay Bridge is located on a narrow single lane spit surrounded by tidal mud flats, which would make the installation of a concrete bridge with large construction machinery extremely difficult.”

“One of the most significant aspects of this project is the fact that installation of Unibridge is only two to three days, as opposed to the weeks it takes for traditional bridge construction methods.

“As the bridge is the only access point into Marion Bay this factor alone was critical in the decision to select this type of bridge,” said Mayor Vincent.

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