Merivale Bridge, Brisbane


One of the more notable landmarks in Brisbane, especially for those

with an interest in various bridges and their history and construction,

is the Merivale Bridge, the seventh crossing of the Brisbane River.
It is actually a crossing dedicated to a railway that crosses the Milton Reach side of the Brisbane River to get from the South Brisbane station

to the Roma Street station. It is unlike the sixth Brisbane River crossing, the William Jolly Bridge, which aside from being accessible to vehicular traffic can also be used by cyclists and pedestrians.

The Merivale Bridge became operational on November 18, 1978.

The main purpose of this railway crossing was to be an alternative to

the Corinda route of the railway and enable a more direct connection between the north and south Citytrain system. It is a suspended deck structure with a steel compression arch constructed by Transfield (Qld) Pty. Ltd, who carried out the prefabrication of the 750-metre length railway crossing as well as its erection.

merivale bridge, brisbane

It is one of the most notable designs of Cameron McNamara Pty. Ltd. The construction of the Merivale Bridge had to take into consideration the long

span of the river and the river navigation clearance, as there are coal barges of up to 5,000 tonnes that navigate the Brisbane River. In order for the railway crossing to address these project challenges, the builders designed twin-tied steel box arches from which thirty-two 94.5 mm. diameter inclined steel-wire ropes hanged to support a shallow steel-framed deck. The inward lateral incline of the arches towards the crown gave it further lateral strength. This design enabled the Merivale Bridge to meet the river navigation clearance by a small margin.

There could be more incredibly-made railway bridges in the near future. Because of the more than one thousand a week increase in the population of southeast Queensland, it is expected that there will be a 39 to 98 percent increase in Citytrain use in the next decade. Already, rail and bus systems are operating close to their full capacity. The Merivale Bridge is in fact predicted to be congested by 2016.

This looming limit to transport services is pushing city planners to ensure the ease and affordability of public mobility in and out of the city.

They are planning for development that would answer the needs from as far ahead as fifty years. Included in the Government’s $7 billion South

East Queensland Infrastructure Plan to be carried out over the next 20 years are rail upgrades, with development of the north and south transport

system connection over the Brisbane River.