• Tony Bosworth

Bridge for Upper Colo on the way four months after floods - but still no timescale

It’s taken a while – and there’s still no date and only scant details – but Hawkesbury Council have told Upper Colo residents in their weekly email that a bridge is on its way.

The Council have been in talks with Defence about providing a temporary military crossing but there have been no details revealed about those talks and nothing about whether they have been successful or not.

We hear that a new bridge design will soon be given the go-ahead. At the moment council are looking at a costing and will then move onto the next stage which would be detailed design work.

Residents have been increasingly frustrated not only at what many of them have seen as a very slow response to the bridge issue – despite State government funding being readily available - but they have also expressed their annoyance at what they call repetitive weekly council emails with little detail.

The email communication option was chosen over face-to-face contact with residents after Mayor Patrick Conolly put through a Mayoral Minute at a full council meeting. But the electronic communication option has since been dogged by resident complaints about the emails’ constant repetition and lack of detail.

This last week in a first, the regular email actually contained answers to specific questions locals have been asking for some time, including if Council had started communication with bridge building company TRS.

"Council has held discussions with the design arm of TRS and received a fee proposal for an assessment of viability and concept," said the Council email in answer to that specific question.

"We are currently reviewing that proposal prior to engagement. We are also undertaking an independent review of other bridge options to ensure that the replacement works undertaken provide the best overall result for the community."

“It’s refreshing to finally have a weekly update with honest answers, rather than the council trying to pass off old information,” Upper Colo local and spokesperson for residents there, Alice Voigt, told the Post.

“We especially appreciate the honest answers to questions from the community.”

And this last week Council decided at a full council meeting they will keep Upper Colo Reserve closed until further notice, beyond its normal September reopening date.

“The community at Upper Colo, especially those who reside on the north side of the river, are very relieved by the council’s decision to temporally close the Upper Colo Reserve until a permanent bridge solution is installed,” Ms Voigt said.

“The narrow winding Colo Heights road, which is not suitable for large vehicles, could have created serious accidents with such an increased amount of traffic.

“Council’s decision has relieved stress to the residents who still have extended travel time, wear and tear on their cars, and financial repercussions due to the broken bridge,” she said.

We have also been told there will soon be at least a temporary solution – again, no specific details unfortunately – for Greens Road residents in Lower Portland who like their neighbours at Upper Colo have been making major detours to get around – in their case – two sections of badly flood-damaged road.

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