Repair works completed
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.