It's official. Edwards Bridge in South Warrnambool will be demolished to make way for a new structure, but it will at least retain a heritage feel.
Warrnambool City councillors voted on Monday night to back plans to replace the bridge - which dates back to 1894, and the project will now go out to tender.
The cost of the works is expected to be between $2.7 million and $3 million - with council chipping in half and the Federal Government already committed to paying $1.5 million.
In unanimously backing the move to replace the bridge, there was a call for the name to be retained and the area's indigenous heritage to be acknowledged in the project.
Cr Debbie Arnott said the ageing timber bridge had reached the end of its serviceable life and the community had spoken in favour of option B - a two-span heritage-themed bridge.
She said it was a requirement of the government grant that construction started within 12 months, with Cr Max Taylor revealing a planned November start date.
Cr Arnott said it was imperative there was a new bridge because it was needed to carry equipment required for the future upgrade to the harbour boat ramp.
She said she would also like to see the indigenous cultural heritage of the area included in some way in the project.
Cr Taylor said he would like to see the name, Edwards Bridge, be retained, and a plaque included at the end of the bridge recording its past. "There is a lot of history involved with this bridge," he said.
Cr Taylor said he travelled regularly over the bridge and often it could be "quite confronting".
"If you're about to cross the bridge and on the other end is a bus and you've got to decide 'will I tackle this bus or won't I?' It's a very life-threatening situation," he said.
"I think a lot of motorists would opt for the second option of just remaining where they are and let the bus travel through. It is a very threatening situation at the moment."
Cr Richard Ziegeler said the new two-span bridge with traditional design theme was reminiscent of the Hopkins River bridge.
"It's going to look like a heritage-themed bridge which pleased me no end," he said.
"It's going to encompass new technology which will mean it probably lasts longer than the new Hopkins River Bridge.
"I'm assured by the engineers that the technology has improved so we won't have to be repairing it again in 20 years."
The council was forced to spend $462,000 on the Hopkins River Bridge a year ago - 20 years after the 1895 structure was replaced with a look-a-like bridge.
Cr Ben Blain said one really positive thing about the new bridge in South Warrnambool was that it was going to have pedestrian and bicycle lanes which allowed people to stay active and walk around the city's beautiful foreshore.
He said any wood salvaged would be repurposed for around the new bridge, such as for planter boxes.
"It's good to see that we're actually going to reuse some of the original bridge in the aesthetic of the bridge," he said.
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