Media Statement

Project Manager, Scott Martin

25 February 2000

World First Narrows the Distance

The successful launch of the first section of the new Narrows Bridge across the Swan River in Perth was celebrated yesterday by Leighton Contractors in what is thought to be an engineering world first.

"There's nothing new in pushing the bridge out in sections from one side of the river to the other," said Leighton's project manager Scott Martin.

"But the conventional incremental launch method was not possible for the Narrows because of the need to make it look like a twin of the existing bridge."

The 40 year-old existing Narrows Bridge is widely regarded for its arched profile. The new bridge will replicate this profile but the curved surfaces rule out the normal incremental launch methodology.

Instead Leighton has developed an innovative method some people describe as the Coat Hanger launch."What we are doing is launching from the inside of the girders - the structure that supports the bridge deck, rather than launching from the bottom of the girder as is done in the conventional launch technique," said Mr Martin.

"People will see the new bridge taking shape over the next 6 months as we launch the remaining segments," he said.

The new bridge is expected to open to traffic in December this year.

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