UPDATE March 31, pm: Demolition of the Burley Griffin Way railway overpass bridge at Wallendbeen is almost complete and trains resumed operations on Wednesday night.
A NSW Transport spokesperson said the Sydney-Melbourne XPT service was scheduled to run tonight (Wednesday) after remaining debris, signal testing and the all clear was given.
Concerns that the planned journey of the 3801 heritage locomotive to Albury, Wagga and Junee next week have also been allayed.
“We do not anticipate any impacts on planned heritage operations in the regions”, the spokesman said.
Design and planning work for a new structure is underway with more details available in the coming weeks.
Tuesday, March 30: Crews are currently working around the clock to demolish a railway overpass bridge at Wallendbeen following the discovery of significant cracking in the brickwork and subsidence in the road.
Work started in the morning of Tuesday, 30 March, and will continue until the bridge is demolished, with work expected to be completed by midnight on Wednesday, 31 March.
Once the site is cleared, work to replace the bridge will recommence, with timelines still to be determined.
The road bridge is located on Burley Griffin Way, which remains closed to all traffic between Olympic Highway at Wallendbeen and Milvale Road at Temora. It is anticipated the bridge will remain closed for some time.
The bridge, which is owned by Transport for NSW and maintained by John Holland Transport and Rail, was inspected by engineers late last week after reports it had been badly damaged following recent heavy rain in southern NSW.
So far in March, 116.1mm of rainfall has been recorded at Cootamundra Airport, more than double the March average of 52.9mm.
Transport for NSW is working with John Holland and Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council to minimise the impact to local traffic until the bridge replacement works are complete.
Motorists are being asked to detour via Olympic Highway and Goldenfields Way, which may impact travel times, and heavy vehicle freight operators should use alternative approved routes suitable for their combinations.
The closure will impact XPT rail passenger services on the Main Southern Line, which runs from Sydney to Albury and continues through to Melbourne.
Buses will replace passenger trains until the bridge work is completed.
The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has suspended operations between Cootamundra and Harden due to the urgent works on the bridge.
“We are working collaboratively with Transport for NSW and John Holland Rail to ensure operations can safely return to our network as quickly as possible,” said an ARTC spokesperson. “Ensuring the safety of the community, our customers and staff remains our highest priority.”