Bega Shire: Iconic Cuttagee Bridge to be replaced

On the agenda for the Bega Valley Shire Council to consider on March 10th was to seek direction in relation to bridges funding being offered to Council under the NSW Government Fixing Country Bridges Program. Included in this funding was the possible upgrade of Cuttagee Bridge.

The Councillors were offered the following in the staff report: Scenario 1:

That Council decides to proceed with the replacement of the existing single lane timber bridge with a two-lane concrete bridge in accordance with the preliminary design as attached to this report and which the funding offer is based on. This would involve either lodging a planning proposal to have Cuttagee Bridge removed from the local heritage register and Local Environment Plan (LEP) or lodging a development application for the demolition and construction of the bridge in accordance with the requirements of the LEP noting that as it is in the coastal zone it will require a DA. Under this scenario there is still a risk that Transport for NSW will not support the funding of the bridge until heritage matters are resolved one way or another. This may then have the consequence of the bridge remaining unfunded and at risk of future closure or the need to find alternative funds for major maintenance as an interim measure until funding can somehow be secured via other means.

Although there is a chance a future round of Fixing Country Bridges will be made available there is no guarantee Cuttagee Bridge will be funded in the future.

There will be time required either to undertake a Planning Proposal or to have a Development Application lodged and assessed although it is likely that a Planning Proposal would be more complicated and take longer than the Development Assessment process.

Scenario 2:

Council defers considering the future of Cuttagee Bridge.

Scenario 3:

Council seeks to replace the bridge with a similar structure which again would almost certainly jeopardise any grant funding offer and lead to unaffordable ongoing costs.

Scenario 4:

Council makes the decision to consider assessing the future of the entire Tathra- Bermagui Road as a long-term viable piece of infrastructure to support within a coastal hazard risks assessment of the Cuttagee/Barraga Bay area. The report recommended that Council:

- Endorse replacing the current single lane timber Cuttagee Bridge with a two-lane concrete bridge that is sympathetic to heritage and tourism values of the Tathra-Bermagui Road tourist route acknowledging that the existing bridge is not feasible to retain and endorse lodgement of a Development Application for the demolition of the bridge This would entail replace the existing 10 spans with 2 lanes + footway, and 6 x 16.5m concrete spans.

The report to Council recommended to:

- Engage a heritage consultant to work with Council and the community to identify how to reflect heritage and tourism values in any new structure and a coastal engineer to assist Council to determine an appropriate design that addresses identified coastal hazards at this location

- Delegate the General Manager to form a community advisory group to provide guidance on how best to capture the heritage of Cuttagee Bridge

- Lodge an application to the Building Better Regions Fund for Cuttagee Bridge replacement and associated works

- Commit to allocating funds or borrowing any potential shortfall required between grant funding and the cost of replacing Cuttagee Bridge

You can read the full report HERE