Steel walkway for Snowies

Key points

  • The Mount Lee steel walkway will form part of the larger Kosciuszko Snowies Iconic Walk once complete in five years time
  • The inaccessibility of the walkway site meant that all steel materials were flown in by helicopter
  • Fabricator Steelworks Engineering said the project came in on time and budget

A new steel mesh walkway near Mount Lee in the NSW Snowy Mountains will ensure outstanding natural habitat can be preserved – and enjoyed – for decades to come.

InfraBuild Steel Centre (formerly LIBERTY OneSteel Metalcentre) has partnered with Central Coast fabricator Steelworks Engineering to deliver a steel walkway in the harsh terrain and climes of the Snowy Mountains, NSW.

The 1.74km steel mesh walkway near Mount Lee forms part of a new track called the Kosciuszko Snowies Iconic Walk, which will stretch from Charlotte Pass, via Guthega and Perisher, to Lake Crackenback Resort. The NSW government is allocating $27 million to the new track in a bid to draw hikers, mountain bikers and other tourists to the area during the summer months. 

The first phase of the 25km-long track is already complete, with the remaining sections traversing the Main Range expected to take five years to deliver. 

Steel fit for purpose

The new Mount Lee steel mesh walkway will realign the Main Range walking path so it avoids the threatened Windswept Feldmark plant habitat on the existing alignment of the track. Steel has proved to be the ideal material for elevating sections of the new walk and helping preserve the natural habitat surrounding the realigned track. Among the materials supplied to Central Coast-based Steelworks Engineering by InfraBuild Steel Centre’s Newcastle branch have been RHS, angles and columns. 

“Approximately 60 tonnes of RHS was supplied and used for piling and the walkway structure,” said InfraBuild Steel Centre’s Ariel Reynaud. “We also supplied 10 tonnes of black steel angle for bracing and 15 tonnes of columns as part of the structure.”

He explains that the RHS supplied to Steelworks Engineering had to be specially rolled without oil or paint so as to avoid contaminating the the soil around the track. The lack of moisture in the area would ensure that the steel used wouldn’t rust and would survive in the environment ‘untreated’ for approximately 40 years. 

Seasonal conditions meant works on the Main Range were bound by short construction timelines. And the inaccessibility of the area was a factor, with all 150 tonnes of steel flown into the site using a helicopter. 

Steelworks Engineering Manager David Tennant said he was pleased the project came in on time and on budget, calling the project a “huge success”. 

“I’d like to thank InfraBuild Steel Centre for its involvement in the project and for ensuring all our delivery timeframes were met,” Tennant said. 

Work will resume on the Kosciuszko Snowies Iconic Walk once snow conditions allow, with the finished 44km multi-walk set to rival Australia’s best-known scenic walks once complete.

Video courtesy Steelworks Engineering

Article published on Thursday, 14 November 2019

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