Convict-Era Bridge Uncovered During Brisbane Road Upgrade


The uncovering of a 150-year-old timber bridge during Brisbane’s Kingsford Smith Drive upgrade has surprised road workers, with the workers uncovering the historical relic earlier this week.

A number of old hand-cut hardwood beams making up a bridge over a small creek were uncovered just before Christmas by construction crews working on the $650 million widening of Kingsford Smith Drive. The beams were found one to two metres below the road surface.

Old bridge

Lendlease’s project director David Balmer said it was likely that crews would uncover more old bridges built in the same era.

Kingsford Smith Drive was originally constructed by convict women in the late 1820s.

Queensland’s Heritage Council is currently investigating its significance and how best to protect the find.

“The discovery provides a glimpse into the evolution of the road and its fascinating past, after the Eagle Farm settlement was established in 1829 and when Hamilton Rd — now known as Kingsford Smith Drive — was originally constructed between 1829 and 1830,”

Brisbane City Council infrastructure committee chairwoman Amanda Cooper said.

The Kingsford Smith Drive upgrade involves widening the road from four to six lanes between Theodore Street at Eagle Farm and Cooksley Street at Hamilton. It will also include improvement works between Cooksley Street and Breakfast Creek Road at Albion.

In addition to providing increased road capacity to accommodate future traffic volumes, the upgrade will also deliver significantly improved pedestrian and cycle facilities for both existing residents and the developing Northshore precinct – a $70 million component. The first 200 metres of the 1.2-kilometre river walk has been constructed.

Kingsford Smith Drive connects Brisbane’s CBD with the airport and Port of Brisbane and is a key road gateway to Australia Trade Coast. Freight makes up about 15 per cent of its road movements.

The Kingsford Smith Drive upgrade is due for completion by the end of 2019.

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