Gap inspires engineering feats

Extensive excavation work has been carried out at Cunningham’s Gap to allow workers to reinforce highway repairs.
Extensive excavation work has been carried out at Cunningham’s Gap to allow workers to reinforce highway repairs. Supplied

THE restoration of the rain-ravaged highway which traverses Cunningham’s Gap has inspired some heavy duty engineering feats not often seen on the region’s highways.

Drivers on the Cunningham Highway have suffered delays in the face of the $40 million works, being carried out to repair damage caused by extreme wet weather over the 2010-11 holiday period.

Main Roads Logan District director Paul Noonan, who oversees the works, described the overall operation as “fascinating”.

A range of techniques have been employed to make the vital Great Dividing Range crossing safer and stronger in the wake of the floods.

“It (the damage) was an indication of what 1.7 metres of rainfall can do to a road,” Mr Noonan said.

Techniques have included excavating 4000 tonnes of rock from a 100m long section of the highway to allow 450 soil nails to be hammered in as support for the rebuilt road.

Work at another of the 11 sections of the crossing under repair has involved boring holes 25 to 30m into the soil to be filled with concrete to make a land bridge.

Mr Noonan said managing traffic flow while completing the works had been a challenge for the team.

He advised motorists should allow for an extra 15 to 20 minutes to be added to their usual travel times over Cunningham’s Gap.

Most of the works are expected to be completed by year’s end.

Topics:  cunningham's gap engineering highway

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