Butko’s bridge to get on track

The 35-metre long steel footbridge built for a railway project will travel from Wodonga to Sydney with a police escort. Picture: MATTHEW SMITHWICK

The 35-metre long steel footbridge built for a railway project will travel from Wodonga to Sydney with a police escort. Picture: MATTHEW SMITHWICK

A STEEL bridge leaving Wodonga for Sydney this morning is so large it requires a police escort.

JC Butko Engineering is moving all 35 tonnes of the 35-metre long railway footbridge to Pennant Hills in one go.

Commercial manager Paul Butko said the usual practice was to move it in sections.

“If we were sending it in three pieces, it wouldn’t be a big deal,” he said.

“We build stuff like this all the time.

“But it’s the sheer logistics of fabricating, manoeuvring and transporting a structure of this size in one piece which makes it a challenge.”

The Wodonga-based family company won the $500,000 contract last year from Leighton Contractors, Transport For NSW and Abigroup, who are building a third railway track from Epping to Thornleigh.

They require a new bridge to reach over the extended area at Pennant Hills.

The bridge, four metres wide and four metres high, has sides with alternating triangles of steel mesh and glass, with the latter to be installed on site.

It has a two-level grated steel floor to allow for piping and power lines to run in between.

Mr Butko said the contract was a win for the region and local tradesmen, workers and suppliers.

“It’s kept six guys busy for the past three months,” he said.

“That’s work 600 kilometres from here that we’re getting local guys to deliver.”

Mr Butko said the company was hoping to win more work in the $265 million project on the back of its success.

He said few companies had the capacity to move a bridge that long in one piece.

The reason for this requirement is because the bridge must be installed in 48 hours to minimise disruptions to railway services.

The structure will leave at 7am and is scheduled to be at Pennant Hills at 2am on Friday.

A 500-tonne crane will then help install the bridge later that day.

The project on the Newcastle route is slated for completion in 2016.

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