The historic timber Long Gully Bridge may have been reduced to ashes, but in its place visitors to Dwellingup will soon find a new $550,000 suspension bridge across the Murray River.
By the end of March, day trippers and Bibbulmun Track trekkers will be swinging their way across the Murray River on a new suspension bridge that will replace the historic Long Gully Bridge destroyed by bushfires.
Work began earlier this month on the new $550,000 bridge at the popular Lane Poole Reserve south of Dwellingup, several kilometres downstream from the old Long Gully Bridge site.
The original Long Gully Bridge was burnt in the Boddington bushfires early last year, obliterating the 130m trestle timber railway bridge. It was one of only a few curved bridges ever built.
"The loss of the Long Gully Bridge was a blow to the community because it had huge heritage significance," Environment Minister Albert Jacob said.
"It was a fine example of timber bridge engineering and design that told the story of the development of this part of Western Australia.”
The new bridge will span 82m, with an overall length of 96m. It will include two towers 12m above ground level with a deck.
Timber has been foregone in favour of weathered-steel components and a fibre-reinforced polymer grating on the deck, which will enable a clear view of the river underfoot.
The new bridge has been funded by Bibbulmun Track Foundation, Alcoa Australia and the Department of Parks and Wildlife.
The Bibbulmun Track Foundation is also undertaking track realignment at Lane Poole Reserve which will enable end-to-end hikers and sectional walkers to walk through the region.
According to the foundation, Dwellingup is popular with weekend walkers who typically base themselves in town and enjoy day walks or walk to a campsite for an overnight stay.
Work has also been completed on replacing four Bibbulmun Track timber shelters burnt in the fires.
The campsites at Brookton, Possum Springs, Gardner and Dog Pool now have rammed-earth walls and steel roof shelters.
Top picture: The old curved Long Gully Bridge now destroyed, courtesy of WA Parks and Wildlife.
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