Broken bridge needs a fix

HINCHINBROOK MP Nick Dametto has backed local residents frustrated at the delay in repairing Alice River Bridge, saying Transport and Main Roads (TMR) needed to “fast-track the project immediately”.

Mr Dametto said he had been approached by several residents in the Black River and Hervey Range area who were growing frustrated at having to use a longer, alternative route through Black River Road in order to get to Townsville.

“It’s been two months since major flooding devastated the region and damaged this bridge to the point it had to be shut. I understand the frustration residents must be feeling as they incur the extra cost of fuel and time in travelling to and from the area,” he said.

“Transport and Main Roads are doing work on this in the background with engineering and planning, but the fact of the matter is residents are being grossly disadvantaged here.

“Families are needing to go further everyday via Black River Road and then down the Bruce Highway to drop kids off to school and daycare on the other side of the bridge at Rupertswood, while it is a logistical nightmare for businesses in the area.”

A community information flyer released by TMR last month on Alice River Bridge blamed floodwaters for causing “significant erosion of the river bed around the bridge foundations which may have compromised the structural integrity of the bridge”.

A bridge abutment was also severely damaged, along with the road embankment. TMR commenced surveying and technical inspections of the bridge in mid-February, with specialist engineers making further assessments – all of which were completed at the end of March.

Crews have removed large amounts of debris from around the bridge foundations.

But Mr Dametto said frustrations had grown to the point where people cut off had started dumping rubbish at the bridge.

“I certainly don’t condone illegal dumping but with the next closest dump on the eastern side of the bridge at Bohle Plains, people feel they have no choice because of the longer drive and distance,” he said.

Mr Dametto called on Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey to make repairing the bridge his highest priority and fast-track repairs.

“We need the Minister to have a laser-like focus on this issue and utilise all of the expertise and resources available at TMR to make this happen,” he said.

“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.”

Nick Dametto MP