Primary school students in the Cairns community are learning to be the next generation of bridge-designers and builders with the support of the Bligh Government.Winning students at St Michael's Gordonvale

State Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt said the new $48 million bridge over the Mulgrave River at Gordonvale provided the inspiration behind a bridge-building competition held for local school students.

“As part of the community day held last month to celebrate the new bridge, the Department of Transport and Main Roads held a bridge-building competition with the Gordonvale area primary schools,” Mr Pitt said.

“The competition, which was open to students from Prep to Grade Four, encouraged students to use ingenuity and creativity to construct their own model-sized version of the new bridge.

“Comprehensive lesson plans were developed to assist students understand what is involved in the design and building of a bridge, and a panel of engineers from both the department and contractors BMD Albem Joint Venture judged the bridges on their design, creativity and strength.”

Mr Pitt visited Aloomba State School yesterday, and will visit Gordonvale State School today (26 May) to present prizes to the competition winners.Curtis presents Gordonvale State School students with their prizes

“I inspected the bridge models when they were on display at the community day and I was impressed by the creativity and innovation shown by all of the students,” Mr Pitt said. 

“They really embraced the challenge and, judging by their efforts, I think we have some future designers and engineers in our midst.”

Mr Pitt will also visit St Michael’s School on 12 June to present certificates and prizes to the other winning students.

BMD Albem Joint Venture, contractors for the Mulgrave River bridge project, donated the prizes for the 37 competition winners.

Main Roads Minister Craig Wallace said the new bridge was one component of the Australian Government’s $348 million Accelerated Bruce Highway Upgrade Package.

“The new 480 metre-long bridge will significantly improve flood immunity and accessibility between Cairns and Townsville,” Mr Wallace said.

“The project has also provided employment benefits for the region, with about 390 direct and indirect jobs sustained over the life of the entire project.”

Since the new bridge opened to traffic last month, remaining works being completed as part of the Mulgrave River bridge project include a new connection from Griffin Street to the existing highway, completion of the realignment of the cane railway and improved access to Greenpatch rest area.

The entire project is due to be completed by the end of June, weather permitting.