ABSTRACT:

The Morell Bridge, the first arch bridge constructed in Australia using the Monier system of construction, was completed in 1899 in Melbourne and had an estimated life of 50 years. It is of historic significance not only for the first use of the construction technique but because it was built in the dry then a new man made channel was cut under it to eliminate a sharp S bend in the Yarra River. The south abutment of the bridge is founded in weak siltstone, while the north is founded in soft alluvial deposits. The bridge consists of 3 arches. The northern most arch has exhibited some distress and movement over the life time of the structure. Originally called Anderson Street Bridge, the bridge was renamed in 1935. Construction of the Melbourne CityLink project required a major excavation close to the northern abutment where the 1.6 km Domain tunnel reaches ground level and the new Punt Road interchange is constructed. Morell Bridge became one of the most monitored structures in Melbourne during the construction of the City Link Project. Initial review and analysis placed the bridge at significant risk from lateral movements during construction. The risk was highlighted by the previous problems associated with the northern arch. A temporary works solution together with monitoring was instigated to minimise and identify movements and provide stakeholder comfort. Monitoring, primarily focused on the northern abutment, has included inclinometer readings, regular precise horizontal and vertical level surveys and crack monitoring. Detailed analysis of the bridge and its structure were carried out at various stages during the currency of the project. Movements, not surprisingly, were detected throughout the works.

BACKGROUND

The Morell Bridge over the Yarra River lies just to the south of the entrance portal area to the new Domain Tunnel.

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