Bridge work win for residents

MEMBERS of the Bolaro Bridge community were relieved to get news that the date for the closure of the bridge for repairs has been postponed for a second time, due to concerns raised at a public meeting last week.

At the meeting in Adaminaby they were unanimous in their opposition to the timing of the Bolaro Bridge closure in June.

While residents suggested a postponement until September, the bridgeworks have now been postponed indefinitely.

Residents said winter was the worst time for the bridge to be closed, citing concerns with long detours on dirt roads with ice and snow to contend with, and the impact on tourists to the region on which many businesses relied.

Resident Laurie Gerard said farmers with properties on both sides of the river had told her they were feeding out during winter every two days and would have to undertake major detours of up to 120 kilometres to feed stock.

"While September was a date suggested at the meeting, ideally it would be closed in February which is the best time for farmers and businesses in Adaminaby," Mrs Gerard said.

"Selwyn is not open, farmers are not feeding stock and February is the quietest time for businesses in Adaminaby.

"We've known about the bridge repairs for well over a year now.

"Winter is the worst time for the closure."

Cooma-Monaro and Snowy River Shire Councils sent a letter to affected residents two days after the meeting to advise them that the decision had been made not to go ahead with the proposed planned closure scheduled for June 17 to June 30.

However, work will continue on the sub-structure of the bridge, while water levels in the Murrumbidgee River allow this to be done.

Cooma Shire Council's director of engineering David Byrne said additional traffic management work would be undertaken on the approaches to the bridge during this time to ensure compliance with the 14 tonne load limit and speed limits currently in place.

"At the meeting, residents accepted that a bridge closure for a period of two weeks at some point in time was acceptable ... but constructing a bypass during the closure period was unreasonable," Mr Byrne said.

Mr Byrne said residents at this meeting requested council to consider a closure in late September 2013 that would minimise the impact on business and residents.

"An assessment indicates that September is not ideal due to planned flow releases into the river. The future timing of a road closure will therefore need to be rescheduled to meet construction and community requirements."

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