Timber bridge needs another $2M for much-needed upgrade
AN OLD timber bridge that sits on the border of the Lismore and Ballina local government areas desperately needs an upgrade, but who is taking care of the issue?
Drivers flinch when they go over it ‒ the old timber makes noises, and there's always the concern that vehicles coming in the opposite direction won't stop in time.
Ballina Shire Council has taken over managing the situation, even though the responsibility should be equally shared with Lismore City Council.
The latest cost of replacement is $4.1 million.
Ballina Shire Council documents stated that in regards to funding, "the cost of replacement should be evenly shared" between councils, but Lismore City Council hasn't been involved in the funding applications, a Lismore spokesman confirmed.
The Federal Government already allocated $2 million for the replacement work through round five of their Bridge Renewal Program, after Ballina Shire Council applied for the funds.
According to the council's documents, Ballina completed another grant application of $2 million that was submitted to the State Government, through a similar program.
If that application is successful the bridge replacement will be completed soon.
But if the application is unsuccessful, both councils will need to determine how the shortfall of $2.1 million is to be funded.
If no further funding is secured, Ballina council will have to give up the federal grant.
The bridge, located on Eltham Road, is a single-lane passage over Pearces Creek because the "structural condition of the timber bridge is poor", according to Ballina Shire Council.
Lismore City Council hoped the funding requested by Ballina would be confirmed soon so the work is also manged by Ballina.
"If the funding is successful then the bridge will be fully replaced with works been organised by Ballina Shire Council," he said.
"Lismore City Council could be engaged to construct the bridge but that hasn't been determined yet."
From July 6, the load limits have been 3.5 tonnes for single axle vehicles, four tonnes for tandem axle and 4.5 tonnes for tri-axle.
The load limit was sign-posted at the intersection of Bangalow Road and Eltham Road, Bexhill through to the intersection of Teven Road and Eltham Road, Teven.
There were several alternate routes available for heavy vehicles that do not meet the bridge's new load limits.
The Uralba Road Bridge and Pearces Creek Bridge are the last two remaining timber bridges in the Ballina Shire.