EIDSVOLD residents say they have reached the end of their patience waiting for repairs to a footbridge over Harkness Boundary Creek, which has been deemed unsafe to cross for three years.
But they will have to wait a bit longer as the North Burnett Regional Council awaits the results of an application for a state government grant.
But, despite the council saying the footbridge running beside the Burnett Highway is closed to the public, only the most deteriorated section of the bridge, which visibly sags underfoot, is marked with construction fencing and residents were still using it when the Times visited.
The council encourages residents to use the footbridge near the Eidsvold Bowls Club, but for residents accessing the skate park, football fields or Eidsvold Showgrounds, this represents a lengthy detour.
Valerie Pashalis, who says her Wednesday morning social coffee club has been concerned about the bridge for some time, described the situation as “really terrible”.
She feels “someone’s going to get killed” while using the narrow shoulders on the neighbouring Burnett Highway as a crossing.
Mary Roth agrees with Mrs Pashalis.
“You’re gambling with your life,” Ms Roth said.
“It’s been a long-drawn-out affair... something needs to be done.”
Debbra O’Rourke said the footbridge represented a drowning hazard, if it were to give way while someone was crossing.
Councillor Peter Webster, who attended the Australia Day protest at the bridge alongside nearly 20 residents, said the council and residents were on the same page.
“We all want the same thing, we want the damn bridge fixed,” he said.
However, he said that the more than $50,000 quoted to repair the bridge, representing about one per cent of the council’s annual budget, was unable to be funded unilaterally, which was why the council had applied for a Cycling Infrastructure Program grant on January 18 to fund 100 per cent of the repairs to the decayed decking.
The council has been told by the Department of Transport and Main Roads the grant’s outcome “may be known by March but (they) could not say so for certain”.
The council previously claimed responsibility for the footbridge lay with the department, according to a response to a service request seen by the Times dated August 8, 2018, but now accepts the footbridge falls under the council’s scope of responsibilities after the department declined to fund repairs.
If the grant application is unsuccessful, the council says it will consider funding the repairs in its 2019/20 budget.
FED UP: Locals are worried someone may end up in Harkness Boundary Creek if something isn’t done soon about the decaying footbridge.