Australia, C&L, Cranes & Lifting, Features, Projects

John Holland wins CICA Project of the Year 2023

John Holland wins the CICA Project of the Year award for 2023 with its work on Batemans Bay bridge replacement project.

John Holland Group Pty Ltd won the CICA project of the year 2023 award for the Batemans Bay Bridge replacement project.

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Major construction work on the Batemans Bay Bridge replacement project began in late 2018 when Transport for NSW engaged John Holland to design and build a new bridge over the Clyde River, within the Batemans Bay Marine Park on the South Coast of NSW.

The new bridge opened to two lanes of traffic in March 2021, with the shared pedestrian and cycle path opening the same month. The project reached completion in October 2022.

Key project features include:

 New four-lane bridge, including a three-metre-wide pedestrian and cyclist shared pathway;

 Upgraded roundabout intersection at the Princes and Kings highways;

 Improved local road and pathway connections on both the northern and southern foreshores in Batemans Bay;

 Tall vessel access to the Clyde River at 12 metres at mean high water spring (MHWS); and

 Upgraded foreshore areas to support community and tourism friendly activities.

The project also included the demolition of the existing bridge, an iconic vertical lift truss bridge which was built over the Clyde River in 1949.

The new Batemans Bay Bridge is a precast segmental cantilever bridge which included 30,000 tonnes of concrete and 2,700 tonnes of Australian-made reinforcing steel for a total of 166 bridge segments. 

A precast manufacturing facility was established at a local yard south of Mogo. A bespoke lifting beam was designed for handling of the modular cages, the formworks and the casted segments. Storage and logistics in the precast yard were managed by gantry cranes both on rail and rubber tyres.

The bridge segments were then transported by road with low loaders and moved to the bridge location, where they were offloaded and installed by crawler cranes. The two main cranes were two Manitowoc M16000 crawler cranes – one land-based and one on a 180ft pre-ballasted barge with derrick and MaxER. The cranes were dry hired and operated by John Holland.

The land-based M16000 crane was configured with 54 metres of main boom, while the one on the barge had 66 metres of main boom, derrick boom and MaxER counterweight up to its full capacity (232t at 15m). A propping design for the MaxER on the barge enabled it to be connected and disconnected easily from the crane. The lifting operations utilised up to 96 per cent of the cranes’ capacity.

The same two main cranes were also initially used for the installation of the substructure of the bridge (with on-site casted shells), and then both cranes were used in parallel to build the bridge cantilever spans.

A bespoke lifting beam fitted with a hydraulic system was designed and manufactured for lifting the bridge segments. This allowed the required adjustments to suit the bridge form changes and segments tilt.

Once the new bridge was completed and opened to traffic, the demolition works started for the existing bridge. The superstructure of the old bridge weighed approximately 2,022 tonnes (60 per cent concrete and 40 per cent steel) with the concrete substructure weighing approximately 4,012 tonnes. The demolition was designed in a modular manner to minimise impact on the sensitive environmental marine park. 

A temporary jetty was designed and installed for loading/unloading plant, equipment and transporting bridge components to and from a barge. 

The first step of the demolition required the removal of the tower counterweight. Due to the mass, the elevation and the capacity of the existing bridge deck (which was only able to accommodate small cranes) this was performed with strand jacks mounted at the top of the tower. The strand jacks were lifted in place by a 130 tonne all-terrain crane (Liebherr LTM1130-5.1) with a bespoke grillage design to drive the crane loads to the bridge strong points.

Strengthening of the bridge truss spans was also designed and installed prior to the modular demolition. 

The modular demolition started with the truss spans.

Each span was jacked from the bearings to remove bond and confirm mass and CoG, and subsequentially removed by two 10 axle lines of Self Propelled Modular Trailers (SPMTs) positioned on a 180 foot barge. The SPMTs were configured in a global three-point hydraulic suspension configuration and were utilised at 65 per cent of their hydraulic capacity.

The barge was then moved to the jetty where Ro-Ro operations (using  12 metre ramps) were performed to bring the spans to the demolition area onshore. The spans were offloaded and lowered with four 125 tonne climbing jacks and then demolished/processed by the M16000 crane.

The concrete back spans of the old bridge were removed by lifting them in one piece with the Manitowoc M16000 crane on the pre-ballasted 180 foot barge with derrick and MaxER.

The same equipment was then used to remove the bridge substructure in modules. A few bespoke lifting devices were designed and fabricated for the removal of the headstocks and the piles, and a large tilt frame was installed on the barge for the rotation of the piles.

The bridge substructure was cut with the largest diamond wire saw constructed in Australia, which was custom made for the project. The substructure components were lowered on a skate system on the jetty and were dragged to the shore for demolition and processing. Throughout the project several other crawler and all-terrain cranes were utilised. 

Thanks to meticulous planning, the project was delivered safely, on time and on budget, and with effective risk mitigation within the environmentally-sensitive Batemans Marine Park. 

A strong focus on early planning, engineering and constructability ensured a higher level of engineering control, with lifting operations delivered to naval architect requirements with details of all stages, including cranes and SPMTs. 


Start planning your nominations for the CICA Project of the Year – as well as lift of the year, photo of the year, and innovation of the year – and submit them here.

John Holland wins the CICA Project of the Year award for 2023 with its work on Batemans Bay bridge replacement project.
The John Holland team celebrate winning the CICA Project of the Year. Image: CICA
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