Beckers Bridge is a DeBurgh type timber truss road bridge. It has a single timber truss span of 27.7m(91ft). There is a single timber approach span at each end, giving the bridge an overall length of 45.4m(149ft).
The deck and trusses are is supported by timber trestles providing a carriage way with a minimum width of 4.6m. The guard rail, of timber post and rail construction, extends the full length of the bridge.
1984: Deck reconstructed after spot failures.
Date unknown: Reconstruction of some elements of approach spans and trestle pier; steel sway bracing installed.
2004: Introduction of highly visible and intrusive steel monorail beams to underside of main truss.
2009: Encasing of southern abutment in highly visible and intrusive reinforced concrete to prevent the collapse of the existing timber abutment.
In 1998 the bridge was assessed as being in good condition. RMS NSW has subsequently (2018) submitted that the structural condition of concealed elements cannot be properly assessed to determine their present condition. The bridge has since 1998 been subject to significant repairs, some of them intrusive, so as to make the structure safe. The bridge cannot be updated to Higher Mass Limits (HML) without the introduction of modifications so intrusive as to substantially degrade its heritage significance.
Timber truss road bridges have played a significant role in the expansion and improvement of the NSW road network. Prior to the bridges being built, river crossings were often dangerous in times of rain, which caused bulk freight movement to be prohibitively expensive for most agricultural and mining produce. Only the high priced wool clip of the time was able to carry the costs and inconvenience imposed by the generally inadequate river crossings that often existed prior to the trusses construction.
Timber truss bridges were preferred by the Public Works Department from the mid 19th to the early 20th century because they were relatively cheap to construct, and used mostly local materials. The financially troubled governments of the day applied pressure to the Public Works Department to produce as much road and bridge work for as little cost as possible, using local materials. This condition effectively prohibited the use of iron and steel, as these, prior to the construction of the steel works at Newcastle in the early 20th century, had to be imported from England.
Ernest DeBurgh, the designer of DeBurgh truss and other bridges, was a leading engineer with the Public Works Department, and a prominent figure in early 20th century NSW.
Timber truss bridges, and timber bridges generally were so common that NSW was known to travellers as the "timber bridge state".