Currumbin’s new bridge

It’s wider, smoother and wearing stainless steel railings. Currumbin’s hidden rail trail has reopened! Renewed and revitalised.

In early autumn, I wrote about our local bicycle/pedestrian bridge, the history sandwich hidden in its girders and its closure for renewal. The bridge with the old railway hidden beneath our everyday walks and rides was going to be out of action.

People wearing hardhats swarmed around the old bridge, by foot, on boats, from cranes, dismantling, sanding, pointing, and placing. Tides ebbed and flowed around the bridge’s pylons. Eight full moons slid by overhead.

Without the bridge, routines had to change, different paths walked and ridden. Some destinations took longer to reach. Sometimes that meant I chose to avoid those destinations. The bridge’s absence made its usefulness shine.

And its re-emergence brought unmistakeable joy.

And its re-emergence brought unmistakeable joy. “We’ve got our bridge back!” one woman called out, with a thumbs up, as she pedalled swiftly past. A young school boy exited the bridge on his mountain bike, greeting us with a smile, a wave and a bright hello. Any shyness, teenage angst or ‘too cool’ attitude was shelved. He was clearly happy about riding over the new bridge and wanted to share his joy.

Sections of the original steel girders that needed replacing have been repurposed as signs bearing information about the bridge’s history. Two stand at each entrance to the bridge; each sign bringing a different story. I learnt about the railway’s engineer and the bridge’s specifications, saw some photos of the railway in action, peered at an etching of the original engineering plans, and thought about the bridge’s changing role over the decades.

This valuing of the past seemed to prompt recollections for some. A seventy-something on his morning walk recalled his first visit to Currumbin as a sixteen year old and fondly shared memories of how he used to catch the ferry across the creek.

Lifting the spirit of a community can happen with the simplest of things. Something as simple as a bridge – a way to traverse the creek and move easily around the neighbourhood by foot, by pedal – being given a new life and its history valued, lit the faces of many.

I felt that spark on the morning I visited the new bridge. It moved me. Such a simple piece of infrastructure adds much to the quality of our local lives.

(To see photos of what the bridge looked like before the renewal, click here.)

20160621-detour-img_1957

Detour for 8 months while bridge under construction.

20160809-pylons-only-gopr2097

Only pylons standing after the bridge’s deck was removed.

20160822-beams-img_3754

Concrete deck being positioned using overhead crane.

20161021-bridge-ahead

Ready to roll!

20161021-sign-img_3253

Reading one of the four signs explaining the bridge’s history

20161021-sign-img_5529

Original girder repurposed as a sign.

20161021-sign-img_5630

This girder shows drawings for the railway’s construction in early 1900s.

20161021-bridge-ahead-2

Wider, smoother and wearing a stainless steel railing.

 

20161021-riding-new-bridge-img_5547

Lifting the spirit of a community can happen with the simplest of things.

 

16 Comments on “Currumbin’s new bridge

    • It is Brenda and particularly with the state of the bridge’s deck before the renewal. It was so bumpy that some days I just couldn’t bear the jiggling and would take a longer route. Now, the path is so very smooth and much more enjoyable.

      Like

  1. So we were not the only ones peering across the fences watching progress. We watched as the final beams were lifted off and again as the new concrete girders were returned.

    Sometimes, I think as historians we had crawled under the bridge almost as much as as the engineers. We looked for and found as many steel makers marks as could be found on pylons and girders. As much as as we appreciate the bridge’s revival, for us its also tinged with sadness as the pier marks are slowly obliterated with another layer of paint (look at the top of each of the black pylons near where the new concrete beams are seated. Each has a unique number – counted from the north to southern side of the bridge, and Upper/Middle/Down stream (U/M/D) – except for one pier where the numbers were put in backwards when it was cast. The Carnigie names are almost completely gone from the thicker beams but it was good to see them on the smaller thinner Earl of Dudley bearers.

    Still all in all its good to see that the old girl will still be with us for a while longer – maybe even another 100 years.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s right 😀 Watching it unfold has been really interesting.

      Thanks for adding your insight into the bridge’s history Susan. The detail about the unique numbering is fascinating and adds something quite special to the bridge’s story. I’m guessing there were engineering reasons for the numbers… were they used for labelling for placement during construction?

      Like

  2. It’s been worth the wait then. I felt a little melancholic to see it being dismantled. Such a connecting thread in the community. I enjoyed the pictures too. Thanks Gail!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gail
      Thanks for reminding us of another place to cycle.

      Your time lapse description of the renovation and then the community’s appreciation is lovely to read.

      Jen

      Liked by 2 people

      • Hi Jen, this bridge is perfect terrain for your Brompton bicycles. And it can lead you north or south along some nice footpath trails. Next visit? Or maybe a Gold Coast Brompton Riders ride 🙂 Gail.

        Like

    • Definitely a connecting thread Robyn. Nicely put. Seeing the bridge deck missing and only the pylons remaining was kind of sad and exciting in one. The end result is a great improvement though. The new surface is really smooth to ride on and, for walkers, much safer with all the uneven lumps, bumps and splits removed.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Gail. The subject of bridges is near and dear to the hearts of people around here especially those living in small rural communities. The closure of a bridge can cause much angst especially if there are no immediate plans to replace the old one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The bridges are vital links. I only realised how much I used it when it wasn’t available. Now that the bridge is reopened, my ride to local barista is much closer 😉

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: