Re­pair works com­pleted

The Tatura Guardian - - News - By Thomas Moir

The Toolamba Bridge is fi­nally open again fol­low­ing months of clo­sure, struc­tural fail­ures, de­tours, dif­fi­cul­ties sourc­ing tim­ber and fur­ther dam­age.

Tem­po­rary works to the cen­tu­ry­old bridge were last week com­pleted and the bridge re­opened to traf­fic less than two tonnes in weight.

Sub­stan­tial re­pair works worth $500 000 are to be un­der­taken next fi­nan­cial year.

But it is planned a new Toolamba bridge will be con­structed in the next 15 years.

De­sign work for a new bridge would take place over the next five years, with a view to build in about a decade, Greater Shep­par­ton City Coun­cil said.

In the mean­time, traf­fic will be kept to a 10 km/h speed limit and de­tours will re­main in place for ve­hi­cles heav­ier than two tonnes.

The coun­cil in­fra­struc­ture direc­tor Steve Bow­maker thanked the Toolamba com­mu­nity for its pa­tience.

‘‘We know it has been a huge in­con­ve­nience for the com­mu­nity and they have been very un­der­stand­ing of the need to do the works,’’ Mr Bow­maker said.

The coun­cil in­tended to ten­der the per­ma­nent re­pair works to re­place failed and de­te­ri­o­rated parts of the bridge and bring it up to ‘‘a more ac­cept­able stan­dard’’, Mr Bow­maker said.

‘‘It is in­tended that ten­ders will be re­leased mid-2017 and it is planned for work to com­mence late 2017 or early 2018,’’ he said.

The newly-com­pleted tem­po­rary works in­cluded the re­place­ment of the tim­ber end beams, re­in­force­ment of the bridge abut­ments and re­place­ment of dam­aged ar­eas of the tim­ber deck­ing.

Bol­lards were in­stalled and line mark­ing and road­side drainage works were also com­pleted at the Toolamba end of the bridge.

Com­mu­nity mem­bers are be­ing en­cour­aged to re­port any­one fail­ing to ad­here to re­vised traf­fic re­stric­tions.

Mr Bow­maker ex­pected more per­ma­nent re­pairs would ex­tend the use­ful life of the bridge for a fur­ther 10 to 15 years.

‘‘A longer-term so­lu­tion will be con­sid­ered by coun­cil, which may re­quire the con­struc­tion of a new bridge,’’ Mr Bow­maker said.

‘‘The Toolamba bridge is listed in the coun­cil’s 10-year cap­i­tal works plan and coun­cil of­fi­cers will strengthen the case for re­ceiv­ing gov­ern­ment fund­ing by con­duct­ing traf­fic stud­ies in the area.’’

Mr Bow­maker last week said the coun­cil had made al­lowances for the cost of new bridges and would seek fund­ing as­sis­tance to help with re­place­ment costs.

The bridge had been closed since mid-De­cem­ber.

Open again: Af­ter months of clo­sure, the Toolamba Bridge has re­opened to slow-mov­ing traf­fic less than two

tonnes in weight.

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