Bridges destroyed by bushfire are being replaced in record time and at a fraction of the cost by local tradies and suppliers, thanks to a world-first LEGO-like modular system that was invented in regional NSW.
Deputy Premier and Minister responsible for Disaster Recovery John Barilaro said the company InQuik, founded in Goulburn, is currently helping local councils and workers to plan and construct eight bridges in Clarence Valley, Queanbeyan, Shoalhaven and Bega, with more projects likely to follow.
InQuik, created by Bruce Mullaney in 2015 and run by his sons Logan and Ben, allows bridges of varying lengths to be built from modular components manufactured in the Hunter region and Sydney, which are assembled by local tradespeople trained up by the company.
The company is about to oversee construction of its 60th bridge and current projects are supporting upwards of 50 jobs in bushfire impacted regions, while there are more than 30 people employed through InQuik.
“Local contractors and council crews are trained up to assemble the bridges, which means councils can directly engage subbies, putting larger pay packets in their pockets with the added benefit of upskilling and delivering new business to local suppliers,” Mr Barilaro said.
“Around 80 per cent of the bridge is concrete, which is sourced from the region where the bridge is being built while transporting the modular sections to the site creates work for freight companies, and geotechnical studies and site-specific engineering are also completed by locals where possible.”
Mr Barilaro said work to replace destroyed bridges was able to get underway quickly, in one case within two days of an order being placed, due to the generosity of regional councils.
“Work on two bridges that were on and near Armidale Road for Clarence Valley were fast-tracked thanks to Ballina and Hilltops councils, which asked InQuik to use the components already ordered for their own bridges to build the Clarence Valley bridge,” Mr Barilaro said.
“With the support and guidance of the NSW Government’s Office of Regional Economic Development, InQuik is having discussions with prominent international construction firms and has patents pending in dozens of countries.
“It is amazing that this ingenious design, recognised globally by the Association for Iron and Steel Technology’s prestigious TC Graham award, is helping local businesses replace damaged infrastructure and put their communities on the road to recovery.”