Demolition on the cards for historic 150-year-old bridge
THE FATE of the old Gavial Creek bridge on Bowlin Rd was the hot topic at yesterday's council infrastructure committee meeting.
The existing bridge connects Quay St extended to Bowlin Rd and was built around 1850 for the railway.
Due to its age, the bridge piers and concrete are in a poor state with serious deterioration.
Council was successful in gaining approvals for a new bridge and the tenders for the contract closed in October last year.
Ahead of this, council civil operations staff presented councillors with the options on what to do with the existing bridge.
The first option was to demolish the old bridge, which carried an estimated cost of $208,000.
The second option was to leave the old bridge, however this option comes with serious ramifications.
The lead paint would need to be removed, a repaint undertaken, minor repairs, a new deck and structures installed to block access to the bridge at an estimated cost of $200,000 initially plus ongoing maintenance.
It was noted a weather event such as a flood or cyclone could damage the bridge as it was in a vulnerable state.
The existing bridge paint could also pollute the creek and it could continue to cost more money as it further deteriorates.
The third option was to remove the old bridge and reinstate it at a park, costing $450,000 plus an estimated $50,000 maintenance costs each year.
Installed more than 150 years ago, the bridge is riveted in which makes it very hard to move.
Contractors have indicated to the council staff that if they do try to move the bridge, that they would "not be held liable for any damage that might occur."
The strength of the bridge and deck to handle the move is unknown and it was considered very likely it would not survive.
Following moving the bridge, it would need repainting and existing creek banks reinstated.
Both options to keep the bridge would require ongoing stabilisation work if the bridge was left in place.
Based on the remaining options, council staff advised removing the old Gavial Creek bridge would be the best option for council.
Councillor Drew Wickerson asked if it could be kept as a extra fishing platform and used as a pedestrian and cyclist bridge.
He was told this was included in the second option.
Noting the severe cost, he said it was a shame to see the bridge go but it was well past its time and practicality.
Councillor Cherie Rutherford appealed against the demolition and asked if there could be a fourth option.
She asked council staff to get a costing to look at disassembling the side steel trusses from the old bridge and reassembled onto another structure, as a way of keeping the history.
Her request was moved as the resolution for the issue.