Sharp height increase to improve bridge's resilience
Replacement of Sharp Bridge is set to reduce the likelihood of Beechmont's community becoming isolated due to flooding and landslips in severe weather events.
Mayor Greg Christensen said the Coomera River crossing between Beechmont and Canungra would be replaced with a contemporary concrete structure built at a higher level than the present bridge.
"This will deliver a more resilient structure with fewer instances of closure due to flooding which represents a great outcome for the community," he said
Sharp Bridge, Botan Creek Bridge and Back Creek Bridge in the Beechmont district are among 11 timber bridge replacements across the region co-funded under the national Bridges Renewal Programme, a partnership between Council and the Federal Government.
"The value of this initiative is that it allows Council to bring forward these important bridge replacement projects in our rural areas without excessively impacting ratepayers with the entire cost by sharing this with the Commonwealth," Cr Christensen said.
"The reality is that local councils levy just 3.6 per cent of all government taxes through rates and charges, but are responsible for 80 per cent of the nation's road network."
Adams Bridge at Rosevale, Churchbank Bridge at Mutdapilly and Tramway Bridge at Christmas Creek have already been replaced as part of the initiative, with a further eight bridges programmed for renewal over the next two years.
The next eight bridges co-funded for replacement are:
Ferguson Reserve Bridge – Brookland Rd, Allenview
Back Creek Bridge - Beechmont Rd, Beechmont
Sharp Bridge – Beechmont Rd, Beechmont
Botan Creek Bridge – Beechmont Rd, Beechmont
Cavell Bridge – Boyland Rd, Boyland
Josephville Bridge – Josephville Rd, Josephville
S Todd Bridge – Sandy Creek Rd, Josephville
Brookland Bridge – Undullah Rd, Kagaru
Cr Christensen said Sharp Bridge, Botan Creek Bridge, Back Creek Bridge and Ferguson Reserve Bridge had been programmed for replacement this financial year, while the remaining four bridges would be delivered in 2018-19.
"The momentum of our bridges program will continue over the next two years thanks to the support of a Federal Government which shares our vision for improved connectivity throughout the region through appropriate investment in asset renewal," he said.
"The delivery of these eight new bridges will reduce the number of timber structures currently maintained by Council from 74 to 66 in an overall network of 129, which is a great outcome for the region. When Council implemented its Bridges Strategy in 2011 there were 97 timber bridges in use throughout the region."
Cr Christensen said Council's continued investment in maintaining and renewing road and bridge infrastructure was vital in driving the region's economy.
"Our transport corridors are crucial to supporting the growth of our economy. The limitations imposed by timber bridges, many of which were constructed more than half a century ago, are effectively roadblocks to economic growth," he said.
"An important outcome of new bridges is that they are free of load limits which can restrict the movement of heavy vehicles.
Division 3 representative Cr Virginia West said the replacement of three bridges on Beechmont Rd was a welcome result for the local community.
"Beechmont can often become isolated during severe weather with flooding in the Coomera River and landslips on the Gold Coast side," she said.
"Replacement of Sharp Bridge with a higher level bridge will reduce instances where the crossing is cut due to floodwaters.
"As well as being safer, contemporary structures of concrete or steel are more resilient and require less ongoing maintenance, delivering cost savings to ratepayers in the longer term."
Cr Christensen said Council acknowledged and appreciated the continuing advocacy of the Federal Member for Wright Scott Buchholz in support of Council's infrastructure program.
"Scott has been a champion of the Bridges Renewal Programme and of the importance of securing co-funding from the Federal Government to enable Council to bring forward its long-term schedule of works," he said.
Mr Buchholz congratulated the Scenic Rim Regional Council on the completion of another two local bridge projects and their recent success in the Bridges Renewal Programme.
“If the Bridges Renewal Programme was tailored for any region it’s the Scenic Rim as it provides the infrastructure investment needed to upgrade the large network of timber bridges across the region,” Mr Buchholz said.
“A strong regional bridges network is crucial to ensure local residents have a safer run on our roads and improve connectivity ensuring community access to essential services.”
IMAGE: Mayor Greg Chriatensen and Federal Member for Wright Scott Buchholz at Sharp Bridge.