Western Australia’s Kununurra Diversion Dam has received a new gantry crane in a $4.1 million State Government funded project to replace the previous 50-year-old piece of irrigation infrastructure.

The 7m, 65 tonne steel crane will ensure the ongoing operation of the Kununurra Diversion Dam, which diverts and regulates the flow of water from the Ord River into the Ord Irrigation Area.

It works by travelling along the diversion dam wall, lifting the 20 tonne blocks that sit on top of the dam’s 20 radial gates that form the roadway and allowing important maintenance to be carried out.

The new crane utilises the latest technology to make it safer and easier to operate, and is expected to ensure the smooth operation of the diversion dam for the next 60 to 80 years.

Western Australian expertise was used to design, build and install the crane, employing 12 people throughout the duration of the project as well as three local subcontractors.

Perth-based business Vector Lifting manufactured the new gantry crane and several local Kununurra subcontractors helped install the large piece of machinery.

The original 54 tonne gantry crane was installed 56 years ago in 1963 as part of a project to build the Kununurra Diversion Dam and contain the flow of water from Lake Argyle.

After more than 50 years in operation and nearing the end of its lifespan, it has been relocated to the corner of Victoria Highway and Millington Drive near the Kununurra Diversion Dam.

Western Australian Water Minister, Dave Kelly, said the the Kununurra Diversion Dam with its unique gantry crane is one of the most iconic landmarks in the region.

“The original crane has helped shape Kununurra’s history over the past five plus decades and the new gantry crane will play an important role in shaping Kununurra’s future for years to come,” Mr Kelly said.

“I’m pleased that Western Australian companies have been used to build the new crane and local contractors were used for the installation.

“The new crane utilises the latest technology in automation and load-limiting mechanisms to make it safer and easier to operate.

“It is fantastic to see the old gantry crane being preserved nearby as this iconic piece of machinery will serve as a monument to Kununurra’s unique heritage and will create a popular tourist attraction for the region.”

Before joining the Utility team, Eliza worked as a freelance journalist for a number of years. Eliza has the rare talent of being able to find the nuggets of gold in otherwise average source material, and like any self-respecting member of gen-Y is a whiz when it comes to social media marketing and management.

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