Work has begun on restoring Dickabram Bridge

Craig Warhurst

THE ageing hardwood timbers of the historic Dickabram Bridge are being slowly and painstakingly replaced in an aim to breathe new life into the 122-year-old landmark.

Built in 1886, the bridge has long been the vital crossing across the Mary River near Miva but for now the bridge is closed to both trains and cars while a group of 12 Queensland Railway bridge builders set about renovating the regions most precious bridge.

The dedicated team of tradesmen has been battling heat, high above the Mary River, while carefully dismantling the timber and steel bridge.

The heritage listed bridge is one of only two remaining train and car bridges of it type left in Australia.

The construction crew is removing rotten timbers and replacing them with new hardwood beams in an effort to restore the old bridge to its former glory while making it safe for traffic.

Jason Steele is one of those men and he said working on the bridge was complicated, because of the design of the structure.

“The bridge is heritage listed so we have to replace everything exactly as it was, nothing is to change,” Mr Steele said.

“Sometimes we have to remove large sections of bridge to replace a rotten section.”

Walking along the rustic timber decking that makes up the road surface of the bridge, large gaps between boards frame glimpses of the Mary River 70 metres below.

“The other morning the boys saw some huge lungfish swimming around down there,” Mr Steele said.

They were around three foot long.”

The job is a huge one for the bridge builders and they aren't expected to finish until well into the new year.

Before then the construction crew is planning to erect scaffolding under the bridge to help with the replacement of some larger sections of timber.

That's when construction gang is going to really get into action.

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