Bridging the gap

Muswellbrook Bridge Replacements Project
Hunter Valley, NSW
At a glance

How do you replace three bridges on a busy rail line with little to no disruption for passenger, goods, and freight services? It’s all about experience.

On a critical rail line in the Hunter Valley, three ageing bridges had reached the end of their design life.  Used by more than 56 trains a da,y the bridges maintenance and repairs were causing unplanned closures of the network – with around 18,000 trains a year, that’s a problem.

To improve rail line safety and network reliability we were required to replace bridges that spanned over a 900-metre section of the rail corridor.

The challenge

The experience of Laing O’Rourke’s Australian Rail Operations were called on to assist ARTC’s Project team.

The first part of the project involved demolishing a 15-metre, two-span steel bridge, and replacing it with a 26-metre single-span, precast concrete ballast top bridge - in the same location as the existing alignment.

Next, we had to construct a 600-metre section of new rail, and incrementally launch sections of a new 176-metre multi-span ballast top concrete bridge to replace the other two bridges. We did this on a new alignment to minimise disruption of rail operations.

The outcome

The works were undertaken during major track possessions including one major 96-hour track possession.

This included track reconstruction work, the installation of 900 metres of new rail, and construction of a new precast underbridge.

Throughout the project, effective communication with all stakeholders, including the local community, enabled us to complete the extensive project on time while upholding the highest safety standards.

Throughout the project we upskilled local tradespeople and engineers, ensuring they understood the finer details on how to deliver a major construction project. This is important to us at Laing O’Rourke and is a great outcome for the local community.

Hunter Valley, NSW

Muswellbrook Bridge Replacements

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“I’d like to thank the Laing O’Rourke team for delivering the new Muswellbrook Bridge Street underbridge. Great partners - the team did an outstanding job - which will improve network reliability and throughput – which is a win for our customers and the nation, because the Hunter Valley rail network plays a vital role in transport and supply chain, supporting the Hunter, New South Wales, and Australian economies. The Muswellbrook Bridge Replacement Project and all the Hunter Valley maintenance shutdowns are part of our commitment to keep Australia moving through a safe and reliable rail network.

Clinton Patterson Project Manager Hunter Valley, ARTC

Project value

2 years

Project duration


bridge replaces two existing bridges