Toolamba bridge damage repairs on track

By John Lewis

Repairs to Toolamba bridge are still on schedule for an October completion, despite the discovery of more damage than expected.

The more than 100-year-old structure was closed on June 17, three weeks ahead of its scheduled closure on July 10, when preliminary works found the bridge to be unsafe.

Greater Shepparton City Council infrastructure director Phil Hoare said since then, contractors DC Projects had uncovered further problems.

‘‘Some piers were found to have deteriorated more than we anticipated — a foot or so below the surface. But we’re still on target for October,’’ Mr Hoare said.

He said contractors were strengthening the piers, replacing cross beams and decking and fixing up barrier rails.

He said the work involved digging down beside the piers and wrapping them in new fibre coatings.

Mr Hoare said repairs to the Toolamba bridge and Mooroopna’s Watt Rd bridge were being done as an interim measure before eventual replacement.

‘‘These works will buy us another 10 years — but we are aiming towards replacement within that time,’’ Mr Hoare said.

He said recent high water flows along the Goulburn River had not interrupted works on the bridge.

‘‘We are able to work on other areas of the structure while the water is up,’’ he said.

Mr Hoare said heavy boulders had been placed on the roadway at the bridge entrances to deter drivers who had moved traffic barriers already in place.

‘‘It’s an active work site — people should respect that. We don’t want people walking or driving across,’’ he said.

The $1.6million project will enable the two-tonne vehicle limit to be raised to 10-tonne load limit once completed.