HAWKESBURY RIVER BRIDGE A DISASTER WAITING TO HAPPEN

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The Baird Government is putting the lives of thousands of commuters at risk by failing to repair the crumbling Hawkesbury River Railway Bridge – which carries 625 daily train services between Sydney and the Central Coast and Hunter.

According to documents obtained by the NSW Opposition under Freedom of Information, the Government was told by engineering and development consultants in 2013 that vital repairs had to be undertaken to Pier 2 within one year. 

The NSW Opposition has referred the matter to the Office of Transport Safety Investigations. 

An underwater inspection report showed exposed steel reinforcements due to large amounts of concrete missing, with remaining concrete being soft and crumbly when touched. Exposed steel reinforcements have also suffered significant corrosion. 

In November 2013, the Government received a report urging it to undertake repairs as early as possible – within one year. It was told doing nothing was not an option given the extent of the deteriorated region and risk of failure of the bridge – advice it has completely ignored. 

The Government has also ignored the report’s recommendation that in the event no remedial action was taken, regular underwater inspections occur every 6-12 months. 

625 train services cross the Hawkesbury River Railway Bridge each day – approximately 11,119 commuters. In total, 5,714,474 passengers use the Central Coast line and 2,025,086 use the Newcastle line each year. 

Quotes attributable to NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley 

“More than 600 train services carrying 11,000 passengers between Sydney and the Central Coast and Hunter use the Hawkesbury River Railway Bridge every day - their safety must be paramount.” 

“This is a disaster waiting to happen: the bridge is quite literally crumbing at its foundations while the Baird Government does nothing.” 

“The Government has known for two years about the potentially devastating risk to commuter and freight rail safety - it needs to stop dragging its feet and start repairs immediately.” 

Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Ryan Park 

“Commuters deserve to have every confidence that when they’re on our rail network, they’re safe – that’s just not the case here.” 

“The Baird Government can’t just sit on a report about crumbling rail infrastructure for two years without any action to fix the problem.”

“How can commuters have any confidence in the way this Government runs a rail network if they can’t get the basics of infrastructure management right?”