Customer: Victorian & NSW State Governments

Contract: Design and Construct

Location: Echuca, Victoria/NSW border


Transport Solutions Australia

Fast Facts

  • 600 m of elevated structures, including a 115 m in-situ balanced cantilever box girder for main river crossing
  • Eight span 300 m Campaspe Bridge structure completed in 10 months
  • 400,000 tonnes of fill successfully imported through busy border tourist town
  • 125 Super-Tees (each 35 m long) used for bridge approaches
  • 10,000 tonnes of asphalt laid
  • 13.7 ha of habitat improvement works
  • 97% of project spend was local
  • Project delivered 4 months early

An innovative bridge solution saw McConnell Dowell secure the design and delivery of this important new river crossing for the Victorian and NSW state governments.

Completed four months ahead of schedule, construction of this vital second crossing between Echuca and Moama included new bridges over the Murray and Campaspe rivers, and two new flood relief bridges.

The new bridges have a single lane in each direction, meeting traffic demands for at least 30 years. The design allows for additional lanes to be added in the future. The project also included a new 4.5 km pathway for walking and cycling.

To secure the project McConnell Dowell challenged the design (an extradosed bridge) and developed an alternate main bridge solution, which included a number of enhancements to streamline construction and reduce costs, including:

  • A cantilevered 115m main span box-girder bridge solution that avoided temporary or permanent marine-based structures. This solution also reduces maintenance, minimising the need to access the waterway and waterflows. 

  • The Murray River bridge cross-section and vertical alignment was re-engineered to maximise longitudinal fall - optimising drainage performance thereby reducing drainage infrastructure.

  • The gradient of the road was increased while maintaining river span clearances. This enabled the removal of redundant clearances at abutments and reduced earthworks volumes.

The McConnell Dowell team also explored ways to benefit the local community during construction. For example: 

  • 97% of project spend was local.

  • The team strengthened bonds with local schools located near the project, holding regular information sessions, site tours and even hosting a jobs workshop to promote construction as a career.

  • During the pre-COVID-19 period, the team was able to connect with residents through door-knocking and small community meetings. As a very personalised approach, in a tight-knit community, it enabled the communications and engagement team to produce a comprehensive contact list of residents and businesses that could potentially be affected by works. This streamlined the communications once the pandemic hit.

  • From a social inclusion perspective, the team engaged a local disability services provider for site maintenance, caretaker duties and cleaning. A total of 14 Aboriginal owned, social enterprises and not-for-profit organisations were engaged on the project. 5% of the workforce were Aboriginal.

Now complete, the new Murray River crossing is known as Dhungala Bridge and the new Campaspe River crossing is called Yakoa Bridge – with Dhungala and Yakoa the respective names in Yorta Yorta language for the Murray and Campaspe rivers.

The new route will provide economic and travel benefits right across the region and will remove around 10,000 vehicles from local roads each day. It will also improve access for emergency services and will support high productivity freight vehicles, improving freight access through southern New South Wales and northern Victoria.

The Echuca-Moama Bridge Project, completed in April 2022 is one of the largest transport infrastructure projects constructed in northern Victoria. The project was completed under budget and ahead of schedule, and constructed almost entirely during COVID-19. This was even more difficult because of its location on the Victorian/NSW border, so border closures, and varying travel restrictions across the two states posed significant challenges throughout. MRPV and construction partner, McConnell Dowell worked collaboratively to overcome these challenges to ensure the project was completed successfully.  

The project teams’ efforts in engaging with local communities and ensuring works were carried out in an environmentally sensitive manner were exceptional. It is a credit to both teams.” 

Damian Van Dyke, Delivery Director, MRPV  

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