IN JANUARY 2013 the old bridge on Thornton School Rd was washed away in the devastating Australia Day flood.
Now, almost two years later, the finishing touches are being put to an improved replacement bridge which will finally link the school to Mulgowie Rd again.
That flood roared through the upper valley and through the school grounds as the bridge gave away under the weight of water roaring down the Laidley Creek from the mountains.
The school re-opened after a clean-up, but was cut-off.
Thanks to local farmers, a detour route for staff and students was established on a closed road from Peters Rd over the creek to Kowaltzke Rd.
But over the last few months, Lockyer Valley Regional Council engaged Shamrock Civil to build the replacement bridge and that work is now nearing its end.
Shamrock Civil supervisor Brett Craig said they put the road beams in place last week and were now adding the finishing touches to the rails and the bitumen on the approach road on either side of the bridge.
"We started here on site on August 28 and expect to be finished well before Christmas," Mr Craig said.
"This is the third bridge on this site after the first two were washed away and this one will be the strongest yet."
Mr Craig said it was a smooth construction process, although they did encounter some difficulty with timber decks from the old bridge still in the creek.
"This new bridge will be a 40m single lane span," he said.
Mr Craig said they had great support from the local community during the building process.
"The general public has been very nice and there have been no negative comments," he said.
"We've tried to involve the school and have given students demonstrations at each significant event."
Thornton State School principal Erika Hassett said the whole school community was looking forward to the opening of the new bridge.
"The children have learnt a lot about the construction process and are very excited about the re-opening," Ms Hassett said.
Students we spoke to said they were looking forward to a shorter a bus trip or in some cases, being able to walk the short distance to school again.
Lockyer Valley Council has not yet advised a date when it will be re-opened but expects it to be "soon".
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