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Romiaka bridge safe for now

Geoff Helisma The Romiaka bridge, which joins Palmers and Micalo islands on Yamba Road, does not measure up to the load-bearing limit set by the Australian Standards, however, the council advises that there are no safety concerns. The bridge is one of four for which the council has applied for funding to the Australian Government’s Bridges Renewal Program. Last month, the council wrote to Yamba businesses seeking support for the council’s submission. “If the bridge is not replaced in the near future consultants have recommended that a load limit of 20T [tonnes] would need to be imposed on the bridge,” the council wrote. “To improve our chance of securing funding for the bridge replacement we are seeking letters of support for the project from industry … and where possible include quantified data as evidence of the impact” of implementing a 20 tonne load limit. The estimated replacement cost of the bridge is $3.46million. Between 6,000 and 9,000 vehicles cross the bridge daily – the council did not have a record of how many 20 tonne or heavier vehicles cross the bridge. The council has not set a timeline for the bridge’s construction, however, it will “continue to monitor the bridge and would only consider imposing a 20 tonne load limit if there was some structural failure of a major component of the bridge”. The council’s recent survey and assessment of the bridge, which took “into account potential deterioration of some components”, did not reveal any immediate structural deficiencies. “The bridge is not at risk of collapse,” the council stated. “However, if there was any structural failure, council would seek assistance from state and federal authorities to implement emergency procedures to [cater for] communities on the eastern side of the bridge until temporary and then permanent access was provided.” At last month’s council meeting, councillors unanimously supported the Bridges Renewal Program submission, which seeks funding to also replace bridges at Spiders Bridge (Greberts Road), Jacks Bridge (Old Glen Innes Road) and Kinghorn Bridge (Wooli Road) at a total cost for the four bridges of $4.18million – the council’s contribution towards the total cost would be $2.09million. However, the council will also seek grant funding through other state and federal government programs to contribute towards its half share of the estimate.