Brunswick Heads South Arm Bridge timber upgrade completed

Brunswick Heads bridge with upgrade completed

The heritage-sensitive timber renewal of the Brunswick Heads bridge commenced early February 2020 and was completed in October 2020.  The fully restored bridge was officially opened by the Hon. Kevin Hogan, Federal Member for Page and Byron Shire Council Mayor, Simon Richardson on 8 March 2021.  

Thank you to the Brunswick Heads community and everyone who visits the town for their patience and support during this major upgrade.  We are proud to have delivered this beautifully restored bridge!

Future works on South Beach Road 

We are developing concept plans for the upgrade of South Beach Road from the bridge to the surf club. The South Beach Road upgrade works are currently scheduled to commence in 2022. 

Funding has been secured for this project from the NSW Government's Roads and Infrastructure Election CommitmentThis funding has enabled Council's largest program of road and infrastructure projects to be delivered over three years.

About the Bridge Renewal project

The upgrade of Brunswick Heads’ iconic South Arm Bridge was required to:

  • ensure its structural safety 
  • enable access to much-loved beaches, parks, homes, facilities and connection to the town.

In February 2019, an engineering inspection and load assessment of the bridge rated it in very poor condition. The load limit on the bridge was reduced from 30 tonnes to 10 tonnes.

Council was awarded a grant from the Australian Government’s Bridges Renewal program for $607,000 to upgrade the bridge. We provided matching funds to complete the critical works.  Total investment in this project was more than $1.2 million dollars.

Restoration works were initially scheduled to start in September 2019, however the discovery of significant numbers of nesting Welcome Swallows under the bridge and in the Cape Byron Marine Park meant that works were postponed until early February 2020.

Additional monitoring of load limits (at 10 tonnes) helped to ensure that the structure remained safe.

What did the bridge works involve?

Works on the bridge involved replacement of critical structural elements including the timber girders and concrete-wrapped piles (the column supports that hold the bridge up).

Once the bridge’s structure was restored and safe, we upgraded several sections of the deck (the road section of the bridge) replacing rotten timber sleepers with recycled timber.  At the same time, the protruding steel bolts were replaced with internal steel fastenings to create a smoother and safer timber road surface more resistant to long-term decay.

Council is very pleased it has been able to retain the timber features and heritage look-and-feel of the bridge on behalf of the community.  The existing footprint of the bridge remains unchanged and the overall look has been retained thanks to the replacement of timber elements with similar looking certified hardwood timber.

Motor vehicle traffic was managed by traffic controllers during the day and a single lane remained open for vehicles throughout most of the project, with some closures required during the final stages of the upgrade.

This is a significant major project, designed to give the bridge another 50 years of life, ensuring it remains part of the town of Brunswick Heads for the long-term.   We thank the local community for their patience and support while the works were completed.