Residents anxious about Modella bridge damage
Its concrete pillars sit cracked and leaning precariously whilst guardrails are replaced fortnightly.
Modella residents are calling for bridge improvements at a major intersection as large trucks cause ongoing damage whilst failing to negotiate its sharp left hand turn.
The bridge is located metres from the Modella Hall, at the corner of Longwarry-Koo Wee Rup Road, Bridge Rd and Chambers Rd. Its concrete pillars were first damaged about 15 months ago. Further incidents, including one in early July, have seen the pillars sit more precariously over the past six months.
Modella residents Dave Purvis, Rob Peacock, Alan Light and Reg Purvis said locals had been left in the dark after calls to VicRoads and Cardinia Shire went unanswered.
Following Gazette inquiries, VicRoads said the bridge remains safe to use and repairs would be carried out by late November. However, no overall intersection improvements are planned.
Cardinia Shire said the bridge sits in the Baw Baw Shire district.
Built in 1962, Reg Purvis said the bridge catered for small tray trucks and occasional small semis. However, the intersection is today a main thoroughfare catering for much larger vehicles.
“The bridge is dangerous and somebody needs to do something,” he said. “Especially for people who don’t know it.”
The guardrails are damaged so often that they are changed fortnightly, he added.
Dave Purvis has footage of a truck having to park some 25 metres from the bridge at dusk during winter to unload his cargo with a forklift after the truck was damaged by hitting a pillar.
There is also footage of impatient drivers, approaching from the Longwarry direction, clearly aggravated at being held up by truck drivers swinging out into their lane to navigate the tight left turn.
“They don’t understand,” he said. “The truck in that position has nowhere to go.”
The residents said nothing had been done to improve the intersection despite calls to VicRoads and Cardinia Shire.
They said if the bridge was located in Pakenham or Warragul instead of Modella, works would be done straight away.
If overall improvements were carried out, residents believe neighbouring dirt roads would need to be bitumen sealed to cater for the traffic.
VicRoads eastern regional alliance program manager Michael Flegg said “we have carried out a thorough inspection of Modella Bridge, including the substructure supports to ensure it remains safe for use”.
“Repairs to the concrete bridge posts, rails and posts are expected to be completed by the end of November,” said Mr Flegg.
When asked if any overall intersection improvements were planned, Mr Flegg added that VicRoads’ transport safety officers were working with heavy vehicle operators to increase awareness of the constraints at this bridge and its safe navigation.
A Cardinia Shire spokesperson said the bridge was managed by VicRoads within the Baw Baw Shire district.
Appealing for improvements to the bridge built in 1962 after several incidents of large trucks hitting traffic barriers and the concrete pillars are Modella residents (from left) Rob Peacock, Dave Purvis, Alan Light and Reg Purvis.
Concrete pillars are cracked and lean precariously on the bridge - caused by large trucks failing to negotiate the sharp left turn.