Pressure pays off for bridge users
PEOPLE power and developer pressure appears to have fast tracked plans to replace a dangerous Tweed Coast bridge.
The narrow, wooden Cudgen Creek bridge which links Kingscliff with the multi-million dollar resort and residential developments of the "new Tweed Coast" is now set to replaced in four years.
Previously Tweed Shire Council engineers had reported it should last 10 to 15 years before replacement.
Kingscliff district residents were yesterday pleased with the news but some felt it could be given more urgent priority.
A spokesman for the Ray Group which is developing Salt and last week warned the Council it could be liable for accidents on the bridge, Steve MacRae, said the company simply wanted to see $450,000 it had provided for bridge work spent.
At the moment, he said, everyone using the bridge was at risk. The council plans to convert the narrow crossing to one-way traffic with a ''give way'' sign at the southern approach before Christmas, providing space for a cycleway and footpath.
President of the Kingscliff Ratepayers and Progress Association Pete Gladwin said yesterday he was delighted to see the project brought forward.
Council's chief engineer Mike Rayner confirmed the bridge could be built "earlier than thought" saying it was ninth on a list of bridges needing replacement across the shire, based on the condition of their timber sub-structure.
Under the current bridge replacement program he said it was expected the other bridges could be completed by 2009.
"We have always said since 2002 that it had 10 to 15 years life left in it," Mr Rayner said.
Mr Rayner said he expected a separate new footbridge and cycle way costing $1.2 million to be in place "by this time next year" and modelling would begin on possible designs for a new road bridge.
The cost would depend on the length which would be determined by tests on how the flow of Cudgen Creek is impeded by the current bridge abutments.
"The further we open up the creek, the higher the cost of the bridge," Mr Rayner said.