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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

Will the old Batemans Bay Bridge be demolished

Andrew Constance announced in his recent media release that the proposed new Batemans Bay bridge will replace the existing bridge however in February 2015 the Bega MP and then NSW Treasurer Andrew Constance pledged $110 million to duplicate the Batemans Bay Bridge. The primary problem with the Batemans Bay bridge is the up and down action of the deck. It stops traffic twice a day and has become a nuisance by getting stuck in the up position causing long delays and creating undue risk to emergency services. It goes up and down because of the ferry (or the rare yacht or trawler) So the solution on the table is to build a new bridge and remove the old bridge because its up-down bit has failed.

Above: This video courtesy of Wayne Le Compte of Loud Graphic Design Batemans Bay

In the video above Wayne Le Compte talks of duplication of the bridge and, like many anticipates a second bridge to be constructed like the Nowra example he uses. However that is NOT what is planned according to the latest media release from Andrew Constance that clearly states "the proposed new bridge would replace the existing bridge" So how high will the new bridge need to be? According to the plans for the existing Batemans Bay Bridge the height is 75 feet (22.86m) to "give clearance for the passage of shipping"

Above image from TROVE archives 7th January 1948

Above: The red line is the height of a yacht mast for a 30' cruiser. The yellow line is the lift for the ferry. The Grey LIne is the height of the new bridge if they want small yachts to pass under. Below you can see that the ferry could pass under if it didn't have its top deck on. The top deck is an addition to the original ferry.

Aurecon Australasia Pty Ltd have been announced as the consultant for the concept design and environmental assessment of the project. Aurecon will work towards identifying the preferred option for the new highway crossing. No one knows, as yet, what their brief is in the way of height, lanes or design. The community questions on the table are: 1. Will the Batemans Bay bridge be pulled down - according to the media release - YES 2. Will the new bridge be tall enough to let vessels pass under - YES 3. Will the new bridge be four lanes or two - No info yet however in 2015 Andrew Constance clearly spoke of duplication - an addition of two lanes - with a budget of $110 million. That same budget stands; therefore his "duplication" estimate was only for a two lane bridge. 4. Is the current Batemans Bay bridge structually sound - rumour has it that there is concrete cancer in the pylons. The RMS on their Batemans Bay Bridge project site say it has load limits. There are NO load limits according to the Heavy Vehicle Register. 5. Is the bridge able to carry B-Double transport - Yes - up to 19m based on a maximum vehicle width of 2.5 metres. There are NO 26m B Doubles south of Nowra or north of Bega. SOME DISCREPANCIES On the RTA website regarding the Batemans Bay Bridge Project it states: Project benefits: - The new Batemans Bay Bridge would :improve freight access by enabling vehicles up to 26 metres in length across the river : address structural issues, reducing maintenance costs reduce economic and social impacts resulting from road closures and the current load limit : manage the lift-span and improve nearby intersections to reduce traffic delays during peak periods. However there are NO size limits nor load limits if you look at the National Heavy Vehicles Class 1 Load Carrying Vehicles Notice 2014 Appendix 2 Approved Routes and Travel Restrictions document (extract below)

Above: Note how 19m B-Doubles are allowed over Batemans Bay bridge - What about 26m B -Doubles you ask that RMS says the new bridge will allow? Well according to the map below they aren't allowed south of Nowra or north of Bega, no are they allowed down the Brown or the Clyde.

The following is a letter written today to the Minister for Roads and Maritime Services, Melinda Pavey

Dear Minister

I suspect you are aware the NSW Government made an allowance in its Budget allocations of $100,000,000 for investigative works and the construction of a new bridge over the Clyde River at Batemans Bay. The original announcement implying provisions for four lanes was what was to occur, if and when a new bridge is provided. The real problems with the lifting Bridge at Batemans Bay are mainly caused by the use of the local Tourist Ferry. If the ferry operators were to use a low profile ferry the bridge wouldn’t need to opened very much at all, if at all. The RMS could regulate for that to be the case.

In the back room discussions of the Government has there been any discussions about the sort of bridge that would be provided if the present government were to continue with the idea that new bridge is required at this time at Batemans Bay within the existing Princes Highway Corridor?

A more pressing matter is the State Government needs to be looking to the future needs of the Princes Highway over the next fifty or so years. Has there been any discussion by the RMS in relation to what will be required of the Princes Highway in the Eurobodalla Shire in the longer term of fifty plus years. If discussions about the long term needs of the Princes Highway in the Eurobodalla Shire have occurred, what were they centred around ?

Yours Sincerely

Allan Brown


NOTE: Comments were TRIALED - in the end it failed as humans will be humans and it turned into a pile of merde; only contributed to by just a handful who did little to add to the conversation of the issue at hand. Anyone who would like to contribute an opinion are encouraged to send in a Letter to the Editor where it might be considered for publication

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