May 6, 2017
A three-and-a-half year effort to build a better bridge at Marshlands came to an end on Friday when the South Burnett Regional Council declared the new Marshlands Bridge officially open.
The former wooden bridge – on Silverleaf Road – had been reduced from a dual-lane to a single lane bridge in December 2013 when it was found to be unsafe.
The same inspection led to two other bridges being reduced to single lanes and load limits being placed on a further six of the region’s ageing timber bridges to ensure public safety.
The Council then embarked on a $10 million, multi-year program to replace the region’s worst wooden bridges with new concrete structures designed to last 100 years.
In January 2016, the Council was awarded $800,000 towards the replacement of Marshlands Bridge in Round 2 of the Federal Government’s “Bridges To Recovery” grants program, but was required to contribute $800,000 of its own funds to the project as well.
The following month, Council announced it would be engaging a geotechnical consultant for the Marshlands Bridge project, but would also be bundling the project in with another project – Kings Bridge Road in Wyalla – to see if it could get a better price for the work.
Three months later it began preparing contracts for the bridge as part of its 2016-17 Bridge Replacement Program, and in July last year announced it had received 10 bids on a tender to replace both bridges.
At that month’s general meeting, Councillors voted to award the contract for the work to Kay and Associates Pty Ltd for $1,506,000.
In January this year, Roads portfolio chair Cr Jones advised that the new Kings Bridge would be opened as soon as weather permitted, after which work would commence on Marshlands Bridge.
Work on the new dual-lane concrete structure began that month, but the almost-complete bridge and a side track had to be closed in mid-April when runoff from ex-Cyclone Debbie put both under water.
However, the new bridge suffered no damage from the flooding and was finally opened to traffic on May 5.
Division 5 Cr Kathy Duff said the reopening of the bridge was great news for residents, especially for Hivesville and Proston residents who used the road as a short-cut to Murgon.