Building the Warrawee Suspension Bridge

Warrawee Bridge 5
Warrawee Bridge 1

Building the Warrawee Suspension Bridge: An Achievement of Innovation and Community Collaboration

At BridgePro Engineering, we pride ourselves on tackling unique and challenging projects that push the boundaries of conventional construction practices. The Warrawee Suspension Bridge, recently completed as part of the Wild Mersey Mountain Bike Trails development, stands as a testament to just that!

The project began when the Latrobe Council issued a Request for Tender for the design and construction of a new pedestrian and cyclist bridge over the mighty Mersey River. The goal was to connect the Warrawee Conservation Area in Latrobe to the trails leading to Kentish and Railton, creating a vital link in the mountain bike trail network and boosting tourism in the region.

From the outset, we knew that this project would require out-of-the-box thinking and careful planning. The existing crossing, a 34-meter trail bridge, was located downstream from the proposed site and would be an unsuitable site for the new bridge due to potential hazards during elevated water levels. After extensive deliberation of the key environmental requirements, we concluded that the best solution would be a suspension bridge, ensuring compliance with regulations and the project's requirements.

A collaboration approach to design

Our team approached the design process with two key factors in mind: environmental preservation and functionality. We aimed to minimise the impact on the surrounding conservation area while delivering a bridge that seamlessly integrated with the mountain bike trail. Through careful planning and consultation with experts, we developed an innovative method of stringing cables across the river, gradually advancing from small ropes to heavier cables. This technique resulted in a flat bridge deck that was perfectly suited for pedestrians as well as mountain bikes.

To ensure the successful delivery of the project, we invested in upskilling our staff and engaging third-party experts. Our team underwent specialist training in working at heights, EWP/scissor lifts, and managing the specific cables and connections required for the suspension bridge construction. These efforts not only ensured the safety and well-being of our team, but improved skills and knowledge within our company and the wider community.

The Warrawee Suspension Bridge project was not without its challenges. Procuring the main cables coincided with the nesting and breeding season of the endangered wedge-tailed eagle. Additionally, the project faced setbacks due to extended lead times on cables and specialist suspension bridge components, caused by the global impact of COVID-19. Despite these obstacles, open communication with the client, along with acquiring the necessary approvals for an extension of time, allowed us to complete the project to the reviewed deadline seamlessly.

A record-breaking build

The Warrawee Suspension Bridge stands as a symbol of our commitment to innovation, environmental responsibility, and community collaboration. By constructing the longest single-span suspension bridge in Australia, and potentially the Southern Hemisphere, we have not only enhanced our own capabilities but also enhanced the region. The bridge's completion marks a significant milestone in the development of the Wild Mersey Mountain Bike Trails, which are set to consolidate Tasmania's reputation as the mecca of mountain bike riding, nationally and internationally.

“Warrawee Bridge Update: The legends at BridgePro Engineering Pty Ltd have been working away on the new suspension bridge at Mersey River.”
Wild Mersey Mountain Bike Trails, 19 May 2022.

The bridge will attract tourists, benefit the local community, and inspire future projects in the area. We are proud to have been involved in this iconic piece of infrastructure and are excited about the possibilities it opens up for our company, the industry, and the Latrobe community.

Looking beyond the project's success, we see the Warrawee Suspension Bridge as a legacy for the area, and for future generations.

At BridgePro Engineering, we believe this project is the perfect example of how we are always ready to embrace new challenges and push the boundaries of what is possible.

Aboriginal flag Torres strait islander flag
BridgePro acknowledges the traditional owners of this island, and pays respects to all Tasmanian Aboriginal people past, present and future.