Barwon River / Breakwater Road

Road Underbridge
Line: Geelong and Warrnambool

The railway crosses both the Barwon River and Breakwater Road here, the low-level road bridge running along the top of a breakwater in the river, the railway crossing the road at a 90 degree angle, and the river at a 45 degree angle.

The breakwater was built by Captain Fyans in 1840 and reconstructed by David Lennox in 1845. The first rail bridge in the area was a timber trestle, with the road bridge being a ford along the top of the breakwater.

Around the 1960s the rail bridge was rebuilt to that seen today, concrete pylons supporting twin steel plate girders, with the rails being fixed to timber transoms. This bridge was erected on the eastern (downstream) side of the old one, resulting in a track slew at each end. The remains of the timber trestle can be seen when the river is very low, the stumps of the trestle bents being exposed.

In 1968/69 the City of Geelong replaced the ford with a fifteen span prestressed concrete slab low level bridge, 60 metres (196 feet) long by 6.2 metres (20 feet 6 inches) between kerbs. The road has been further upgraded by adding footpaths along each side. The road bridge was once frequently closed in winter due to the level of water in the Barwon River rising and covering the road (a 1 in 1 year event), but this has happened less in recent years due to the lack of rainfall.

Breakwater Road is also a frequent location for trucks to strike the underside of the rail bridge, due to the low 3.7 metre clearance, and the busy industrial areas at each end. Between 1993 and 2007 an average of two collisions per year have occurred, calculated from those collisions reported to the rail operator. The costs associated with repairs to damaged crash beams are approximately $10,000 for each collision. Minor impacts also occur but often go unreported.

In 2010 VicRoads approved the construction of a new Breakwater Road river crossing, with a high level bridge running due west from from Fellmongers Road, crossing over the top of the railway line, then crossing the river valley and parklands, before dropping back to ground level to reconnect to Breakwater Road near Barwon Roads Road. The new Breakwater Road bridge opened in mid-2012, with the current bridge retained for local access.


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