Taking action to preserve the Bounty Street Bridge

The Australian Government is taking steps to protect the Bounty Street Bridge and the community who use it, by undertaking planned technical investigations and making changes to access arrangements.

The Bounty Street Bridge has significant heritage value and is a critical piece of infrastructure for the Norfolk Island community and its movements.

Over the next week, about five metres of reeds will be cleared away from the watercourse around the bridge to enable engineering experts to inspect the foundations.

The inspection of the foundations will occur from January 27 and will not affect or damage the bridge. It is not anticipated that there will be any public impacts during the vegetation clearance or foundation inspection. The results of the investigation will make it possible to design a structural solution to stabilise the bridge.

A number of technical reports into the condition of the bridge have strongly recommended restricting weight and volume of traffic. There is evidence including from structural inspection reports indicating the bridge is sinking and moving. Subsidence of the north end of the bridge has been observed over many years. A weight limit is already in place helping to protect the bridge, but more needs to be done.

Planned actions will require changed access arrangements in the short term. Acknowledging the importance of the bridge to access within Kingston, controls are proposed to reduce the bridge to single lane access only. This proposal includes installing timber barriers and standard traffic signs at each end to make it a one-lane bridge.

All required approvals will be obtained from the Norfolk Island Regional Council and other regulators before activities start. These planned actions are supported by the KAHVA Advisory Committee and the KAVHA Community Advisory Group.

The Bounty Street Bridge was constructed in about 1835 and is one of only a small number of remaining architecturally designed stone bridges from the early nineteenth century. The road and bridge carry the name of the ship HMS Bounty. The bridge’s association with Pitcairn Islander heritage after their resettlement in 1856 is of historical and contemporary significance. The bridge is constructed of local calcarenite stone with a sandstone arch.

Depending on the investigation outcomes, further structural works may be undertaken at a later stage to help the bridge function safely in the longer term.

For further information, please contact Heritage Manager Martin Purslow on 23115.

Eric Hutchinson
Administrator of Norfolk Island

16 January 2020