The historic bridge tower on McFarlane Bridge at Maclean has been temporarily removed for restoration work.
A Roads and Maritime Services spokesperson said work has been under way since August to ensure the bridge retains its significant state and local heritage value.
“The McFarlane Bridge over the Clarence River was built in 1906 and the 17 metre high and 42 tonne tower has not been previously removed,” the spokesperson said.
“On Monday of last week a 150 tonne crawler crane mounted on a barge in the Clarence River removed the historic bridge tower, which forms an important part of the bridge’s mechanism system.
“The tower was transported by a vehicular ferry to a dry dock at Ashby for it to be dismantled, stripped and repainted. The existing paint contains lead and requires extra care and the use of a specialist technique to remove the paint.
“Removal of the tower prior to carrying out this work has enabled the team to minimise further traffic disruption to motorists.
“Work at the dry dock will include repairs to any corroded parts and applying a new coat of paint to the tower. The reassembled tower will be reinstated on the bridge in the first half of next year, weather permitting.
“The local community is thanked for their ongoing patience while this essential maintenance project is carried out.
“While recent temporary bridge closures may have been an inconvenience to motorists, they have assisted Roads and Maritime to work more efficiently and reduce ongoing disruption.
“The closures have also allowed workers to install additional bracing on the bridge to strengthen it.
“Roads and Maritime will continue to inform the community prior to any planned closures, which are not planned until early next year to allow the restored tower to be safely returned to the bridge.
“Strengthening work on the bridge will continue and work is expected to be completed mid next year. Roads and maritime would like to thank the community of changes to traffic conditions.”
For more information visit www.rms.nsw.gov.au