Calls for bridge to remain open
Speaking in Parliament last week, Mr McCurdy raised concerns about the closure of the weir bridge with the Minister for Roads.
“Will the Minister assist us to keep the weir bridge from closing until a new bridge is constructed between Yarrawonga and Mulwala?” Mr McCurdy asked.
“The bridge is managed and controlled by the Murray Darling Basin Authority but I urge the Minister to assist in whatever capacity he can to keep this important bridge open.
“Obviously during COVID times with the reduction in traffic between Yarrawonga and Mulwala one could say the bridge has limited usage but as the summer comes on and visitors flock back to Yarrawonga and Mulwala, the second bridge crossing plays an important role for regular traffic, but more importantly for heavy traffic.
“Agricultural machinery across the main bridge has increased which has also resulted in the secondary weir bridge being utilised more often.
“I implore the minister to help this crossborder community to continue to function as one community with the assistance of the weir bridge remaining open.”
Currently the Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA), Transport for NSW and Regional Roads Victoria are putting in place the last pieces of the plan to support closing the weir to traffic.
MDBA head of river management Andrew Kremor said all involved agencies were working closely to inform the local community of the imminent closure.
“We are closing the weir to traffic to ensure the ongoing safety and structural integrity of the Yarrawonga weir, but it’s important to note that people will still be able to walk or ride their pushbikes across the structure,” Mr Kremor said.
“Our original plans to close the weir last year were delayed due to COVID-19 and to allow the completion of maintenance works on the Yarrawonga Mulwala Bridge.”
The MDBA has been working in collaboration with Transport for NSW and Regional Roads Victoria to limit, as far as possible, the impact of the closure.
Department of Transport Hume Region Director Steve Bowmaker said there were around 1500 weir crossings a day compared with 8200 crossings of the Yarrawonga Mulwala Bridge (pre-COVID figures).
“We have been working to ensure key stakeholders such as trucking and freight companies are aware of the need to change their route from mid-October, and signage will be in place to give advance warning,” Mr Bowmaker said.
Transport for NSW Regional Director South, Sam Knight, said maintenance work on the Yarrawonga Mulwala Bridge to repair the bridge’s steel truss, upgrade traffic and pedestrian barriers, and undertaking line marking had been completed, paving the way for the closure of the weir crossing.
With the permanent closure of the Yarrawonga Weir bridge to public vehicle traffic imminent this Friday, October 15, local Member for Ovens Valley Tim McCurdy has called for the bridge to remain open.