Council votes to go ahead with repairs for low level bridge

File photo of council carrying out repairs on the low level on a previous occasion.
File photo of council carrying out repairs on the low level on a previous occasion.

Cowra's Low Level Bridge is set to undergo repairs, with a report to Cowra Council presenting a number of options to extend the bridge's lifespan.

Council were presented with a report on the condition of the bridge by Timer Restoration Systems, offering up two options for repairs.

According to the report, the girders and deck were rated in 'fair' condition, with an estimated remaining life up to 64 years while the substructure piles and supporting timbers were rated as 'poor' to 'very poor' condition, with estimated remaining life of only four to 24 years.

Option 1 retains the existing deck and girders and Option 2 is for full deck replacement with a 'glue laminated' deck.

Council voted to engage Timer Restoration Systems to undertake Option 1, upgrading structural assessment rating to "fair", with an estimated remaining life of 50 years, while only costing just over $250,000 of Council's loan funded budget of $500,000 included in the 2019/20 Operational Plan.

Director of Infrastructure and Operations, Dirk Wymer said while council is in the process of looking at alternatives to replace the bridge, those plans may be years off.

"The physical replacement of the low level bridge may be some years off actual construction," he said.

"Interim works to keep the existing structure serviceable need to be considered."

Councillor Bruce Miller said while council was excited about the report, there would still be issues if council decided to keep the Low Level Bridge in the future.

"This is the first comprehensive report we've read that has a positive response," Cr Miller said.

"It could expand the lifespan of the bridge, subject to conditions."

"There's still the limit of four tonnes, it doesn't solve all of the problems."

Councillor Ray Walsh asked whether council needs to continue to look at alternatives to the bridge after the report's findings.

"If we have 60, 70 years... would there be a need for an alternative crossing?" he asked.

Councillor Judi Smith said repairs need to be undertaken however she had concerns about potential Roads and Maritime Services funding for alternatives to the bridge in the future.

"The substructure is very poor... no choice but to go ahead," she said.

"The downside... RMS is likely to say why worry about a second one [bridge]."