Allansford bridge set for $1.2m upgrade

The old Allansford bridge over the Hopkins River will be assessed for flood damage. It is earmarked for a $1.2m upgrade starting in February.

The old Allansford bridge over the Hopkins River will be assessed for flood damage. It is earmarked for a $1.2m upgrade starting in February.

The old bridge over the Hopkins River at Allansford will remain closed until floodwaters have receded and it can be inspected for damage.

The Ziegler Parade bridge is also earmarked for a $1.2m upgrade which is due to start in February and works would increase the load limit.

During the works, the bridge will again be closed to traffic for four to five months.

Warrnambool City Council infrastructure director Scott Cavanagh told a about 80 people at a community meeting in Allansford on Saturday the bridge would be assessed for any flood damage.

The meeting had been called by emergency services to inform residents about the flood risk of the Hopkins River at the weekend.

“The flood issue is the immediate issue and whether we can reopen the bridge. It may well be that the bridge is fine after the flood, we just need to make sure when the floodwaters have gone down we can get in and make that assessment,” Mr Cavanagh said.

“We currently have a load limit due to some deficiencies in the structure and we just need to reassess it to see if that’s appropriate, and obviously whether it has sustained any damage through the flood. There’s a lot of debris coming down with the floodwater and if something hits that bridge, we just need to make sure we do a proper assessment before we let people back onto it.”

Mr Cavanagh said that the council had plans to carry out strengthening works on the bridge this financial year.

“Depending on the outcome of what happens. If the bridge doesn’t sustain any damage, we will continue with the works we had planned. If the bridge has sustained damage we will have to reassess,” he said.

“What we are really hoping is that it doesn’t sustain any damage.

“The bridge has had a load limit for some time and these works will help increase the capacity of the bridge.”

An inspection in 2011 by specialist consultants found the bridge had deteriorated and a load limit of 14 tonnes was introduced.

The Standard reported last year that because of the limit, trucks and buses were diverted onto the Princes Highway via Garagaldi Land.

The diversion of those vehicles had prompted reports to council of near-misses, mainly because of their slow acceleration to reach the 100km/h speed limit.

The bridge is about 80 years old and was part of the original Princes Highway until 1974.

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