28 April 2022

Brogo Bridge crash highlights 'concerning' accessibility issues for Bega

| Claire Fenwicke
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Brogo bridge will be down to one lane only for several weeks due to damage caused by a log truck jack-knifing early Tuesday (26 April) morning.

Brogo Bridge will be down to one lane only for several weeks due to damage caused by a log truck jack-knifing early Tuesday (26 April) morning. Photo: Fire and Rescue NSW Station 286 Eden Facebook.

Travel along the Princes Highway south of Cobargo has become much slower after a log truck significantly damaged the Brogo Bridge.

Alternating stop and slow conditions will be in place for weeks with only one lane available after the vehicle jack-knifed on the bridge early Tuesday (26 April) morning.

Emergency crews attended the crash at 4:30 am.

The incident has highlighted accessibility issues in the area, with Bega Mayor Russell Fitzpatrick fed up with the lack of state action on the roads it owns.

“The danger of [Brogo Bridge] has been well-known for a very long time; it’s the same bridge since I was a kid, the same dangerous corner,” he said.

“When it’s totally closed, there’s no access on that part of the Princes Highway; you have to divert to Bermagui.

“It’s imperative major routes remain open and accessible at all times, especially since we’ve had the bushfires and floods.”

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Locals took to social media to express their concerns about the bridge.

“It is a very scary bridge to cross with a large float. I don’t know how there haven’t been more accidents. So very narrow for trucks and some awful car drivers at times. I hope something is done now to upgrade the bridge,” one local said.

“Such a dangerous, narrow bridge. Always makes me nervous crossing, especially with our horses on board,” another said.

One local added that the bridge’s southern end was “really ridiculous for any larger vehicle” and “should have been fixed decades ago”.

The alternate route to Bermagui can add an extra hour and a half for some motorists and has weight limits, which Mr Fitzpatrick said was “extremely concerning”.

“It’s a safety issue; what if an ambulance can’t get through? They can’t take that long,” he said.

“Food delivery trucks can’t use the wooden bridges [at Bermagui], so food supply to supermarkets on the south coast is held up.”

The other state-managed major route into the region, the Snowy Mountains Highway through Brown Mountain, has also long been of concern to locals.

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“It’s a 10 km road with numerous landslides, lanes fall away, in high winds trees fall across it, it’s an on-going problem,” Mr Fitzpatrick said.

“When the fires came, we had everyone back to the border sitting on that road at Brown Mountain to get out; if there had been a landslide no one could have gotten home or out.”

Mr Fitzpatrick also acknowledged local council-managed roads were experiencing their own issues.

“Recent rain means they’re a quagmire; the potholes are so large we can’t repair them unless we rip the whole road out,” he said.

“The gravel roads especially, the water is so far into the road base it needs to be completely replaced. At the moment if we added more gravel it would just add to the soup mix.

“We’re asking people to please continue to be patient; we also need to find the dollars and dry weather to get the work done.”

A logging truck jack-knifed on Brogo Bridge early Tuesday (26 April) morning.

A log truck jack-knifed on Brogo Bridge early Tuesday (26 April) morning. Photo: Fire and Rescue NSW Station 286 Eden Facebook.

Eden Fire and Rescue NSW crews gave the log truck driver first aid until an ambulance arrived. The 70-year-old was taken to Southeast Regional Hospital for shock and minor injuries.

He has since been released.

Meanwhile RFS Brogo assisted with mopping up the fuel spill and providing fire protection, with absorption pads placed along the bridge to soak up any oil and fuel.

Brogo Bridge will require major work to repair the damage.

The log truck driver was taken to Southeast Regional Hospital for assessment. Photo: Fire and Rescue NSW Station 286 Eden Facebook.

NSW Police is investigating the incident and is appealing to witnesses or motorists with dashcam footage to contact Bega Police on 6492 999 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 with any information.

Transport for NSW inspected the damage on Wednesday (27 April) but it is still unknown how long repairs will take or how much it will cost.

“Further assessments are being undertaken to understand the extent of the damage and repairs needed,” a spokesperson said.

“Traffic will remain open to one lane only until detailed assessments and any required repairs can be undertaken.”

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I am a nurse living in Cobargo with an increasing amount of colleagues. In 1991 there was only a handful of nurses living north of Bega. When we have to take the coast road it increases our working hours, take a 10 hour night shift turning into 12.5 hours X5 consecutive shifts. Example of Planned bridge closures was when the Dry River Bridge upgrade happened. Would you all be happy about your loved ones travelling the coast road night after night. Our goat track between Narooma to the Boarder needs regent attention.

Russell Fitzpatrick is correct the highway is centuries behind especially Brogo Pass, the road should of been upgraded and the bridge realigned years ago.

I get all the accessibility issues, but you know, be careful of what you wish for. One of the best things about the travel to Bega from up north is the beautiful road. Its nice to get away from the maddening traffic of Nowra and other areas. The slowness of the trip is relaxing. I take 10km/hr off my speed once I leave Ulladulla to look at the country side, stop off at the small towns, speak to the lovely locals and breathe in the country air. Why do you want to become part of the rest of the east coast where everything is driven by cars and conspicuous consumption when you have an idyllical part of Australia not fully touched by city life. I do get issues with health services, lack of government care, and social issues that do exist etc etc. and I’d love these to be resolved. If you want things upgraded, just go for a medium size, don’t go too big don’t invite the rest of the world to wreck your little bit of paradise.
Remember that there will be a disaster on your southern side once those environmental wrecking, soul destroying, community wrecking 7000 passenger cruise ships dock at Eden.

Barney Rubble9:15 am 01 May 22

Dave, you’re correct. I’ve lived on the Central coast for most of my adult life. So called progress has turned a series of small urban villages into overcrowded dormitory suburbs of Sydney. The problem is only going to get worse. As for health care, my wife had to wait 5 hours for an ambulance that couldn’t make it up our 25 degree fully sealed road. 10 hours later, sent home with ‘pain management’. I know I’d rather be there than here, which is why we’ve just secured a place at Wandella.

Louise Matheson7:02 pm 29 Apr 22

I’m sick and tired of driving on Third World Country roads on the NSW Far South Coast. Speed limits are too high over that bridge. It should be a one lane bridge. Imagine if that truck was full of Natives Cut down from our Native forests. Lucky for the driver, that the railing was replaced a few years ago otherwise he would be in the river With his truck and trees from our NATIVE FORESTS

Nigel wiggins11:41 am 29 Apr 22

Build a wider bridge on a more improved alignment, this is so narrow , it is dangerous , Election time now , hounder our politicians To get this started .You don’t see bridges like this in Canberra, Weneed a wider, better bridge

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