Bridge works to bring structures up to scratch

By Thomas Moir

Almost $1.4million of interim works will be undertaken to ensure two old bridges in Greater Shepparton can remain usable until the end of their natural lives.

But replacement is still firmly on the agenda in the next decade for both the Toolamba bridge and the Watt Rd bridge, Mooroopna.

Each will cost about $7million to replace.

The council has received $930000 through the Victorian Government’s Fixing Country Roads program. Council is contributing about $430000.

City engineer Phil Hoare said the works were predominantly to the bridges’ substructures, alongside minor upgrades to the Burkes Rd bridge, near Moorilim.

‘‘It’s essentially works on the substructure ... To make sure any of the pillions that might have cracks are strapped and their structural integrity is maintained,’’ Mr Hoare said.

Works on the decking will also be undertaken, including ‘‘replacing some components that have reached the end of their life’’, alongside remedial works on main structural components.

‘‘This project is really about making sure the bridges are safe and last until their ultimate replacement,’’ City engineer Phil Hoare said.

‘‘And we anticipate that will happen within the next 10 years.

‘‘Work we’re doing now is just to make sure they reach the end of their useful life, and we can bring them back to their design load capacity.’’

The remedial works, now out for tender, were expected to be completed by the end of the financial year, Mr Hoare said.

‘‘It doesn’t change size, layout ... it just makes sure they’re safe to use.’’

Last year the council said it was likely to seek financial assistance for the bridges’ long-term replacements.

The Toolamba community had last year called for a new bridge to be funded and constructed as a matter of urgency, to avoid inconvenience for commuters.

There is also a push from residents to ensure the existing century-old bridge is retained, potentially to be utilised as a walking and riding track.

Suzanna Sheed last year also called for a new Toolamba bridge to be funded rather than an upgrade of the existing bridge, to ensure safety and reliability for residents.

The Shepparton MP described the current bridge as no longer suitable for the town’s growing community.