Res­i­dents anx­ious about Modella bridge dam­age

Warragul & Drouin Gazette - - NEWS - by Emma Ballingall

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.

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