Alexandra Suspension Bridge works to start next week

Published on 07 October 2020

Alexanrdra Suspension Bridge, Cataract Gorge

The City of Launceston will next week begin maintenance works on the historic 60m-long Alexandra Suspension bridge in the Cataract Gorge ahead of summer.

The bridge was originally opened to the public on November 29, 1904, by Lady Edeline Strickland who named it 'Alexandra Bridge'. The suspension bridge was designed by St. John David and built by Salisbury Foundry Co.

Its construction was jointly funded by government and public subscriptions.

It was destroyed by the 1929 floods and underwent two reconstructions — one in 1934 and another in 2003. Over the next six weeks, the City of Launceston will strip and repaint the bridge's two A-frame towers and inspect and repaint the structure's anchor bolts.

The work is valued at $200,000 and is being carried out as part of the City of Launceston's $40m accelerated capital works program; an outcome of the Council's Community Care and Recovery Package.

The First Basin Track between the First Basin and the Duck Reach Power Station will be closed for the first week of works between October 12 and October 16. Due to recent rainfall in the catchment the pedestrian causeway linking the eastern and western sides of the First Basin may remain submerged for several more days.

However, people wishing to cross from one side of the Gorge to the other will be able to do so via the chairlift or Kings Bridge. Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten said the Alexandra Suspension Bridge was arguably one of the community's most treasured pieces of infrastructure.

"Bridges are often viewed as basic, but Launceston residents have a real fondness for the Cataract Gorge suspension bridge," Mayor van Zetten said.

"It's something from a bygone era.

"I think the way the bridge moves and sways under load delights and displeases people in equal measure, and it's something that families love to cross when visiting the Gorge. 

"The work we'll be undertaking over coming weeks involves stripping the A-frame structures of old paint, and then repainting them to prevent corrosion. "We'll be using an air pipe wrapping and exhaust system to safely remove the old paint and ensure it does not end up in our waterways.

"Later this year, our intention is to re-open the First Basin swimming pool and to have the Alexandra Suspension Bridge in tip-top condition for what we hope will be another memorable summer at Launceston's Cataract Gorge."