Views sought on future of iconic bridge

The future of the Adelong swinging bridge remains uncertain, with council representatives indicating at a public meeting this week that there was no funding allocated to either repair or potentially demolish the iconic structure.

The meeting was told that it would cost around $70,000 for repairs or demolition depending on what the Adelong community wanted to see happen.

President of the Adelong Progress Association Fiona Matthews said that a survey would be supplied to businesses between now and the next progress association meeting so that the community could have their say on the bridge’s future.

“Basically as it stands we have no funding allocated for it so that would mean that we would have to take allocated funds out of another project to do anything with it,” she said.

The three options that the council and the community have is to either demolish the bridge, repair it to a structurally safe standard, or leave the bridge as it is but continue to have it closed off to the public.

The council have estimated that the total amount of funds needed for either option would amount to $120,000.

“This is an issue that will and should be decided by the community. Even to demolish it is going to cost a fair whack so it’s important that people have their say as to what happens,” Ms Matthews said.

“The survey will be available in the bank, in schools and other businesses. We encourage people to have their say. Hopefully we will have sufficient responses so that we can submit it to council after our next meeting on November 20,” she said.

“Personally, I don’t want another old bridge to look at and not be able to walk across. Fixing it would seem like the best option, but at the end of the day its up to our community to see what they would want to see happen.”

A structural assessment undertaken by the council back in September identified a number of deficiencies associated with the construction of the bridge and recommended that it should be closed to the public in the short term until the future of the structure was decided.

The deficiencies identified included:

• Decking support cross beams were deformed.

• Balustrade rail was flexible and considered not adequate for public safety.

• Balustrade in-fill- the netting can be easily pushed out to create gaps between the netting and the bridge.

• Decking planks- generally considered as satisfactory, although many were weathered and gaps between them posed a safety risk.

“We’ve gone and estimated $120,000 so that we can clean up the deck and fix the kick-boards on the sides,” Divisional Manager of Infrastructure Works Department Heinz Kausche told those gathered during the consultation meeting on Tuesday night.

“We don’t actually have funding for this project now so the council resolution asked for us to go back to the community to ask what they wanted to do.”

Snowy Valleys Mayor James Hayes said the bridge was an important structure to the Adelong community and a symbol of Adelong’s heritage and past.

“I think that whilst it is a reasonably contemporary structure, it’s also a structure that people used to cross the creek and it’s the last one to my knowledge that is still existing,” he said.

“I would say we would want to look at getting a community group involved who can work with council and champion the cause.”