Bridge pier strengthening, Southend, SA

The problem 

The structural integrity of the eight steel bridge piers was in question as a result of exposure to salt and fresh water from the ocean and Lake Frome. Extensive repairs were required in order to prevent the bridge being closed to vehicle traffic.

The solution 

SEWCDB, in conjunction with a third party, developed a work scope to encase the piers.

Work needed to be carried out strictly in line with the scope to ensure the safety of the bridge,  local community and visitors.

The result 

Works comprised abrasive blasting and cleaning the piers. FRP jackets were installed, in accordance with the scope of works.

A protective coating system was applied to the areas which would not be encased in the jackets.  

Project details:
The project scope

Before commencing any work we needed to stop water from entering the work area. 

Sheet piling was installed downstream from the bridge and an embankment installed upstream across the Lake Frome outlet drain. 

Water was pumped out to ensure the piers remained dry while the work was carried out.

Channels were then dug around each pier and containment was set up so blasting and cleaning would not contaminate the waterway.

Once preparation works were finalised a protective coating was applied to the top of each pier, then installation of the FRP system began.

Each pier was reinforced and wrapped with the FRP, the void was filled with a high strength cementitious underwater grout and sealed using an epoxy grout.

Fibre Reinforced Polymer

Our workers undertook training with the supplier to ensure the Fibre Reinforced Polymer (FRP) system was correctly installed.

As a result Swart are now certified installers of the QuakeWrap Pile Medic System in South Australia.

Ready for work to start; water removed from the outlet drain and around piers with containment in place to protect the environment
Pier blasted and cleaned with reinforcing rods and steel rings in position in preparation for encasing with FRP
Piers, fully encased with FRP, ready for the final pour of underwater grout and epoxy grout to seal the newly-refurbished piers

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To learn more about this story call Mark O'Brien on 0418 814 538 or send an email to