Partial closures will commence on the line next Friday and continue intermittently for a month as the State Government upgrades the Port River Rail Bridge, which connects the station at Port Adelaide centre to the Newport Quays development at Ethelton and Semaphore Rd.
A Government spokeswoman said the repairs would extend the bridge’s life by “up to 20 years” and further inspections would “determine if further works are required in the future”.
However, the Opposition has raised concerns more money will need to be spent in coming years to properly fix a century-old bridge which may eventually need to be fully replaced.
The Advertiser has obtained a segment from the State Government’s five-year plan for “core network enhancements” of the Adelaide Metro network, which is marked “for internal DPTI use only” and details major structural faults with the Port River Rail Bridge.
It warns services would be forced to terminate at Port Adelaide if the bridge could not be used, with 4100 commuters who use the northern section of the line left stranded each weekday.
The internal report warns the bridge needs “either major repair or replacement within five years” and proposed two options — one priced at $12 million and the other $28 million.
The cheaper option would add another 50 years to the bridge’s life, while the expensive fix would completely replace it with a new structure that would last a century.
The option would also cost $20,000 per year to maintain, double the annual upkeep cost on a new bridge.
“Most of the concrete piles have significant concrete spalling and many have exposed steel reinforcement,” the report says. “Fatigue calculations indicate that the steel girders are near the end of their expected fatigue life as well as being heavily corroded in susceptible locations.
“If repairs do not occur, the Outer Harbor rail line will not be able to operate as a rail service beyond Port Adelaide. “This will impact on over 4100 passengers ... every weekday.”
Opposition transport spokesman Corey Wingard said he feared the Government had chosen a “cheap patch up job” despite receiving advice that a substantial upgrade was required.
“We need to know what is now being spent and what taxpayers are getting,” he said.
“It does greatly worry me that South Australians could be left with a cheap patch up job and have to outlay more money down the track to fix this properly.”
A Government spokeswoman said works in the coming month had been timed to minimise disruption for commuters by avoiding the AFL season and October long weekend.Originally published as Decaying bridge ‘threatens train commuters’