Edwards Bridge in South Warrnambool will be replaced with city councillors backing the "urgent" work despite a $1.6m blow out in cost.
Fears that the bridge could collapse was one of the reasons cited for councillors backing the increased spend on the long-awaited project at its meeting on Monday night.
Councillors expressed disappointment that it was over budget, but said a new bridge was needed to allow heavy vehicles to access the foreshore for a breakwater upgrade, and to ensure it could carry the weight of emergency vehicles needing to access Viaduct Road.
Cr Max Taylor said the bridge works "must happen as soon as possible". "We have seen how much the cost has blown out from 2015 when it was quoted at $3 million and now it has blown out to $4.6 million, so I would consider this project to be very urgent," he said.
Cr Ben Blain said the bridge was "so far past its used-by date", and the safety of residents needed to be considered.
"If we don't go through with actually replacing it, and something happened, whether they were in a car or walking across it, I'd regret it for a very long time," Cr Blain said.
"Do it once and do it right."
Cr Blain said the council couldn't continue to keep patching up the bridge.
Over the past five years, $365,000 has been spent on repairs - $177,000 of that in the last year alone when work was carried out on the deck to ensure the bridge retained its 15-ton load limit so firetrucks and buses could still use it.
"With nothing being done, these costs will continue to escalate and it will be a big liability for council in the coming years and it could lead to a critical failure, which would be a collapse," Cr Blain said.
Cr Debbie Arnott said there was no doubt the bridge was passed its used-by date and, in this instance, the cost blow out couldn't be helped.
"If we don't fix this bridge now, the expense and cost of the bridge will only keep rising and then we do run the risk of being in real trouble when something goes really wrong with the bridge and we can not use it for doing up the harbor and the port area," Cr Arnott said.
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She, along with Cr Richard Ziegeler, said they had been assured by council officers that the council had the capacity to fund the extra cost.
The council is also hopeful of getting $500,000 more in grant money from the federal government.
Cr Ziegeler said it was imperative the works were done because it would carry the heavy machinery needed to repair the breakwater.
"A cost benefit analysis I think is just delaying the issue. The fact that the budget has blown out was almost inevitable," he said.
"We're just throwing away good money after bad if we keep trying to maintain it and repair it when it's clearly lived its life. It's beyond further repair economically."
Cr Ziegeler said the council didn't really have a choice. "The only good choice we've got is to proceed with the job," he said.
Cr Otha Akoch said it was a vital project, and the council had posted a surplus that would help fund the project.
Mayor Vicki Jellie said the council needed to get the bridge needed to be fixed.
"Stop patching it because that's costing money," Cr Jellie said. "Let's move forward and get this done."
It was a unanimous vote to award a tender for the works to be carried out.
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