Thursday, February 1, 2024
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
More than a year after the brand-new $4.4 million Ted Cunningham Bridge collapsed following heavy rainfall, Council has finally proposed a way forward to re-build 50 metres of the bridge’s approach which was washed away in the incident.
Just before Christmas in 2022, the Ted Cunningham Bridge, which links the townships of Collinsville and Proserpine, was damaged and became impassable when flood waters washed away the easements.
At the time locals were very frustrated because they had already voiced concerns about the materials being used to build the approach.
Locals said that rock and dirt were utilised when they believed it to be essential that a cement causeway be constructed to prevent the approach washing away when flood level rose.
These concerns were realised just four days after the bridge was opened.
It has now taken more than a year for repairs to take place because both the designer and the contractor denied any fault, despite not conducting any flood modelling studies prior to the build.
Whitsunday Regional Council have been negotiating back and forth with the designer and contractor, but it is now considered too lengthy and costly to pursue the matter in court.
As a result, at last week’s Ordinary Meeting, Council agreed to pay a contribution towards the rebuild.
It was agreed that the CEO is now free to negotiate for Council to provide a contribution of up to 50 per cent or $200,000 for to re-instate the approach.
“It has been agreed that the best way forward for all is to reinstate access using a robust concrete causeway and share the costs between the parties,” said the report presented by Michael Downing, Acting Director Infrastructure Services.
“This method avoids a potentially protracted legal case that would only extend the time where the new bridge is not back in use.”
The contractor is currently having flood modelling carried out of the proposed causeway with the modified design and costs still to be finalised.
Mr Downing also commented that he is pleased to see the project move forward to “what should have happened in the first place.”
50 metres of the Ted Cunningham Bridge collapsed at the end of 2022. Photo supplied
The $4.4 million brand-new bridge has been un-useable for more than 14 months. Photo supplied