Bridge repair not fast enough

Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto during a site tour of Alice River Bridge back in May.

HINCHINBROOK MP Nick Dametto has once again urged Transport and Main Roads (TMR) to fast track repairs to Alice River Bridge after tabling a petition on behalf of local residents in parliament on Tuesday.

The e-petition, launched by local resident Mary-ann Yardley, called on “the House to take all action necessary to cause the faster repair of the Alice River Bridge” and attracted 432 signatures.

Mr Dametto said while there had been steady progress by TMR on repairs to the bridge, he stood with residents in wanting the bridge rebuilt far faster than the projected timeframe of up to six months given by TMR when construction started back in April.

“Many residents in the Black River and Hervey Range area continue to be frustrated at having to use a longer, alternative route through Black River Road in order to get to Townsville,” he said.

“I was fortunate enough to join a small group of residents for a site tour of the bridge in May, where TMR was brought us up to speed on the project, showed the works completed and the challenges they were facing. This was helpful but the fact remains that people are still grossly disadvantaged by the amount of time this bridge repair is taking.”

Mr Dametto said some families were needing to go further every day via Black River Road and then down the Bruce Highway to drop their children off to school and daycare on the other side of the bridge at Rupertswood, while businesses in the area were contending with a “logistical nightmare.”

The most recent update from TMR on the bridge has crews focused on rebuilding the western end of the bridge to allow the road approach to be reinstated, as well as continuing rock protection works under the bridge.

Upcoming works include construction of a new concrete relieving slab and concrete margins on the bridge’s western approach, reinstatement of road layers, surfacing and guardrails on the western approach and rock protection works continuing at both ends of the bridge and around the bridge piles.

Now the petition has been tabled, the appropriate State Minister will have 30 days to respond.

“While other road infrastructure and bridges in Townsville have been re-opened and had their problems rectified since the floods, we want to make sure the outskirts of Townsville are not forgotten,” Mr Dametto said.

“I once again called on Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey to make repairing the bridge his highest priority and give locals the access they deserve.”

Nick Dametto MP