• Tony Bosworth

Three months after bridge washed away, temp crossing might be inching closer for Upper Colo

It’s taken three months but at last Hawkesbury Council is talking to the Australian Defence Force directly about the possibility of a temporary bridge at Upper Colo to replace the one washed away in the March floods.

The community has been told by Macquarie MP Susan Templeman that Defence Minister Peter Dutton has confirmed talks are taking place.

“I’m concerned that it’s been three months since the floods, and people are rightly wondering where a sense of urgency is in getting even temporary solutions to this bridge and to damaged roads like Greens Rd,” Ms Templeman told the Post today – Thursday.

Residents at both Upper Colo and Lower Portland’s Greens Rd – which has collapsed in two places - are enduring long drive-arounds on forest trails, and many have told us it’s putting them under considerable financial and emotional strain.

Part of the damage to one of two sections of Greens Road, Lower Portland

Upper Colo’s old wooden bridge was a noted heritage item and had been in place since 1936. The Council have said they are getting quotes for its replacement – which may turn out to be a concrete bridge, though that is still be discussed with residents.

Council are engaging with residents via weekly emails to update them on developments - rather than face-to-face meetings - a decision taken on the electronic method after Mayor Patrick Conolly put it to a vote through a Mayoral Minute at a recent council meeting.

Still, no timeline has been given to residents for either a full replacement bridge or a temporary one, and no-one knows if quotes have been received by Council yet for a replacement bridge, says Upper Colo’s Alice Voigt who speaks on behalf of residents there. There has also been no feedback about the geo testing results, and no information on whether State funding has been applied for yet, says Ms Voigt.

In his letter to Ms Templeman – the Federal MP wrote to the Minister to get action – Minister Dutton said, “I note there is much work still to be done, and remain supportive of the recovery efforts”.

“Defence is engaging with the Hawkesbury City Council to determine the best way forward”.

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