7 August 2017
We are delighted to announce that the new bridge across the Murray River and the related Bibbulmun Track realignment are now open.
The bridge was completed at the beginning of July, just before the winter river water level rose, which would have made the Bibbulmun Track impassable at the diversion crossing point. It replaces the historic timber trestle Long Gully Bridge in Lane Poole Reserve which was destroyed in the 2015 Boddington bushfire.
The new state-of-the-art bridge, built several kilometres downstream of the old bridge site, has been named the Bilya Djena Bidi (pronounced beel-ya jenabidi) by the Gnaala Karla Booja traditional owners. The name means a swinging river foot-bridge.
With an overall length of 92m and 82m between the towers, the design includes two 12m towers that hold the bridge deck six meters above the summer river level. This enables Bibbulmun Track hikers to safely cross the Murray River all year around, while providing a unique feature on the Track.
The design and the materials allow the bridge to blend into the surrounding environment. Weathering, a form of rusting steel, was used for the main part of the structure, including the towers and hangers. All materials offer a high degree of fire resistance and will require minimal maintenance.
BTF volunteers installed the Track realignment and new signage. Some further work is still required to rehabilitate the site; unfortunately this is being hampered by bad weather.
The total cost of the project was close to $850,000 including around $125,000 of in-kind contributions from contractors, volunteers and Parks and Wildlife Service staff.
We are very grateful to the individuals and organisations that contributed. $100,000 was contributed by the Bibbulmun Track Foundation. These funds were raised by members and friends through donations and raffles—originally for the restoration of Long Gully Bridge and then, sadly, for its replacement.
Other funding came from the Parks and Wildlife Service at the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions; Royalties for Regions Regional Grants Scheme administered through the Peel Development Commission and Alcoa Australia with support from engineering company BG&E Pty Ltd who developed the concept design free of charge.