Mooney Mooney Bridge
|Mooney Mooney Bridge|
|Crosses||Mooney Mooney Creek|
|Locale||Mooney Mooney Creek, New South Wales|
|Official name||Mooney Mooney Creek Bridge|
|Maintained by||Roads and Maritime Services|
|Total length||480 m (1,575 ft)|
|Width||27 m (89 ft)|
|Height||75 m (246 ft)|
|Longest span||220 m (722 ft)|
Mooney Mooney Creek Bridge, popularly known as the Mooney Mooney Bridge and 'The NSW Big Dipper Bridge', is a twin cantilever bridge that spans Mooney Mooney Creek in Brisbane Water National Park on the Central Coast of New South Wales as part of the Pacific Motorway. It is the highest road bridge in Australia as measured from the road bed to the water 75 m (246 ft) below. It was opened in December 1986 and is maintained by NSW Roads and Maritime Services.
The Pacific Motorway is the main road link between Sydney, the Central Coast and the Hunter Region. The only other road that links all three regions is the Pacific Highway which from Cowan to Kariong follows a scenic winding route.
Mooney Mooney Bridge was designed by Bruce Judd of the then Department of Main Roads (DMR) and built by Enpro Constructions (Project Manager Barry Pike) by the free cantilever method of post tensioned concrete. It consists of twin bridges, each bridge with a main span & two approach spans. The span at the western end of the bridge is 135 m (443 ft) long, the main span is 220 m (722 ft) long and the eastern span is 131 m (430 ft) long.
The design has been said to demonstrate how good engineering design and good aesthetics are synonymous, and has been used as a standard in the design of bridges throughout New South Wales. They employ a two rail parapet which optimises views of the landscape. The bridges were designed with the natural surroundings in mind and form a simple uncluttered shape so not to detract from the natural bushland of the national park. The three span haunched girders on the bridge were critical to this as were the multiple piers that provide character and strength.
The bridge is the second crossing of the creek in the area, with the original two lane truss bridge that still services Pacific Highway traffic not far downstream of the modern bridge.
The Mooney Mooney Bridge has been the site of several accidents, resulting in the Pacific Motorway being closed to traffic and causing delays. Some of these accidents have prompted debate on whether a new road should be built to supplement the existing freeway.
On 23 October 2004 a semi-trailer's brakes failed coming down the Freeway and caused a pile-up involving 35 vehicles that had slowed down as a result of a car accident on the other side of the bridge. This accident resulted in the death of a woman. On 12 February 2007 another accident occurred when a truck was travelling down the freeway and lost control approaching the bridge, smashing through a guard rail and plunging 30 metres down an embankment at the side of the bridge.
The Mooney Mooney Bridge, because of its height, has been susceptible in the past to people committing suicide. As a result, a fence was erected along the side of the bridge to prevent people jumping off. This fence was erected in 2003 and cost A$1,000,000.
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