Cranes work to readjust the wide load which collided with the Mary Valley Rd overpass on the Bruce Highway last week.
Cranes work to readjust the wide load which collided with the Mary Valley Rd overpass on the Bruce Highway last week. Renee Albrecht

More Bruce Hwy closures expected for Gympie today

THE Bruce Highway is facing further closures today as engineers and surveyors from the Department of Transport and Main Roads continue their inspections of the Mary Valley Road overpass.

TMR's website says the closures are expected between 9am and 5pm after operations commenced yesterday.

The Bruce will be closed to all traffic in both directions with diversions in place during the specified time.

Further delays are expected.

Mary Valley overpass towards Normanby Bridge, Gympie.   Photo Tanya Easterby / The Gympie Times
Mary Valley overpass towards Normanby Bridge, Gympie. Photo Tanya Easterby / The Gympie Times Tanya Easterby

Truck hits Normanby bridge in Gympie.
Truck hits Normanby bridge in Gympie. Josh Preston

The inspections come after a truck carrying a mining truck chassis crashed into the overpass last Thursday morning.

Gympie Police officer Steve Buchanan said handling the crash was a unique experience.

"We've done minor stuff, but not a diversion where you're shutting down the Bruce Highway,” he said.

"It was pretty challenging, by the end of it I was buggered.

"Before we even shut the highway down (traffic) was backing up because it was the end of school holidays and there was a lot of (cars) coming through, the traffic backs up in Gympie anyway because of the traffic lights.”

Deflecting praise for his leadership throughout highway traffic diversion operations following the incident, Senior Constable Buchanan was quick to call the operation a "team effort” for both Gympie Police and the other organisations involved.

"I did nothing more than the guys who were with me,” he said.

"The guys who were with me did a good job too, everyone did their job, and then the guys back here organising things.

"It was a team effort, I was just the one who took (the lead) because I was the senior officer but I didn't do anything different to anyone else.”

A TMR spokesperson said investigations into the cause of the the crash were "still underway” but there were "no plans” to increase the height of the overpass.

"In August 2009, the overpass was hit by a heavy vehicle carrying a pressure unit, causing structural damage,” the spokesperson said.

"When we rebuilt it, we took the opportunity to increase the bridge clearance from 4.6 metres to 5 metres by lowering the highway.

"Signs are in place at both approaches to the overpass advising high vehicles to take the detour (via the on and off-ramps).”

SELFLESS: Gympie Police Senior Constable Steve Buchanan deflected much of the praise given to him for his leadership following last week's wide load crash on the Bruce Highway.
SELFLESS: Gympie Police Senior Constable Steve Buchanan deflected much of the praise given to him for his leadership following last week's wide load crash on the Bruce Highway. Josh Preston

Full Department of Transport and Main Roads statement:

Structural engineers and surveyors will be on site during the day on Tuesday and Wednesday.

They will undertake a comprehensive bridge inspection to assess any structural damage and recommend appropriate actions.

A survey to measure bridge girder distortions and displacements will also be completed.

Bruce Highway motorists will be detoured via the on and off-ramps at the overpass while the inspections and survey are underway.

Specific times will be uploaded to QLDTraffic.qld.gov.au once confirmed.

Investigations into the cause of last week's incident are still underway.

In August 2009, the overpass was hit by a heavy vehicle carrying a pressure unit, causing structural damage.

When we rebuilt it, we took the opportunity to increase the bridge clearance from 4.6 metres to 5 metres by lowering the highway.

Signs are in place at both approaches to the overpass advising high vehicles to take the detour (via the on and off-ramps).

We have no plans to increase the bridge's height at this time.

Gympie Times


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