Eurobodalla Shire Council is building bridges to a more resilient future – in fact 28 of them by the end of 2023.
The shire has moved to concrete and steel structures after 19 timber bridges sustained significant bushfire and flood damage in recent years.
With 15 already rebuilt, the new bridges better withstand natural disasters and carry higher loads, improving safety and resilience for Eurobodalla’s rural road network for residents and visitors.
Council’s director of infrastructure Warren Sharpe OAM said the approach to bridge replacement came from residents’ first-hand experiences of bushfires and floods.
“Our goal is to build back better and keep communities linked together,” Mr Sharpe said.
“To that end, we’ve also rebuilt Garlandtown Bridge on Moruya’s North Head Drive with a wider configuration and higher load capacity, increasing amenity and safety on this vital coastal link road.”
The council has secured additional funding under the Fixing Country Bridges program to replace a further eight timber bridges – five along Narooma’s Wagonga Scenic Drive and the Tilba Tilba, Potato Point and Silo Farm bridges.
Mr Sharpe said the new structures would be built beside the existing timber ones, avoiding the need for temporary side-tracks and minimising inconvenience to the community and disturbance of waterways.
“We’re not stopping there,” he said.
“We’re already in early discussions with the NSW Government to fund more replacements under round two of the program.”
Innovative solutions were needed to rebuild so many bridges in this short time frame. Mr Sharpe said many of the larger bridges employed the InQuik modular system.
“First the components are delivered to the site. Then, where possible, we use regional contractors for the installation work.”
Mr Sharpe said he was grateful the NSW and Federal Governments had taken a common sense approach to disaster-recovery funding.
“Even before the fires, we were working with the NSW Government to establish the Fixing Country Bridges program. Following the fires and floods we’ve seen changes that allow us to rebuild in ways that keep our community connected,” he said.
“To attract this latest funding we joined with our colleagues from Shoalhaven, Bega Valley, Quenbeyan-Palerang and Snowy Monaro to develop an innovative memorandum-of-understanding that delivered many bridges across our region – a first for regional NSW and a model that has since been taken up by other local government partnerships across NSW.”