Toolamba bridge reopening delayed...again

By James Bennett

Toolamba residents need to wait even longer than previously told by Greater Shepparton City Council for their bridge to reopen.

The community was promised a November opening in June when much-need refurbishment started, but council confirmed the new date is most likely mid-December.

The News understands the bridge was open temporarily on Saturday for the Tatura 200 Charity Bike Ride and Walk.

Riders would dismount and walk across the bridge, however, no vehicles were allowed to cross.

The 100-year-old bridge serves as one of the most popular routes among Toolamba residents to get in-and-out of the town.

Despite the delay, council insists the works are "progressing well".

“We are on track for re-opening the bridge by December 18,” council director infrastructure Phil Hoare said.

“Recently, new guard rails have been installed, the deck has been repaired and major below-deck superstructure works have also been completed.

“Ongoing works include the refurbishment of the steel beams that support the bridge deck and completion of other stabilisation elements.”

The Toolamba bridge has seen its fair share of delays this year.

Council officially approved the $1.6 million refurbishment in April, with work to most likely start in May and run until September.

The May start date was pushed back to June for the first set of work, followed by the second stream of works from July until November.

In June the bridge was deemed unsafe to cross, access closed and work had begun. The reopening date was expected to be November 15.

By September council said "40 per cent of the work was completed", but the reopening date was pushed back by 15 days.

The completed work ensures an improved bridge condition and an increased vehicle-load restriction.