Locals oppose bridge contract

Castlemaine locals are opposing a council decision to award a contract for replacement of the town’s historic single-lane Froomes Road bridge with a new double lane bridge.
Local councillors at last week’s Mount Alexander Shire Council unanimously decided in favour of awarding the $1,018,300.10 contract to VEC Pty Ltd.
Citing both safety and drive-ability, Cr Dave Petrusma moved the motion in favour of awarding the contract to be part-funded ($480,000) using federal Bridge Replacement funding with the balance from the council’s capital works budget.
The council’s decision to demolish and replace the existing bridge follows an assessment which found it was at the end of its life with several serious structural issues identified.
It was also deemed unacceptable that the current 30 tonne load restriction remain in place for several reasons including that the bridge is on an access route between a significant local industry and the Calder Highway.
“It’s one of my nightmares that residents will be trying to get out as fire trucks are trying to get in so to have it two-lane is very important,” Cr Bronwyn Machin said, voting in favour of the move.
But locals like Ian Edwards who lives close to the bridge believe the move will decrease safety and damage tourism, heritage and aesthetic values in the leafy precinct that adjoins the town’s Victorian Heritage listed botanical gardens.
A sizable group of locals who share these concerns came together on site earlier this week to make their opposition to the council’s decision publicly known.
“This is exactly the type of spot that tourists come to and it’s going to disappear if they stick a great concrete monstrosity of a double-lane bridge through there,” Mr Edwards said.
“This road is not a particularly good or safe road. This single-lane bridge has operated as a little safety valve and stopped accidents. More in today’s Castlemaine Mail Friday, February 28, 2020.

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