• Tony Bosworth

Work on Windsor Bridge demolition halted as TfNSW carry out investigation into dive boat capsize

Some say it’s the bridge taking revenge on the demolition company, others reckon it’s just a run of bad luck, but whichever you look at it, the past week or so has seen a series of calamities during the demolition of old Windsor Bridge which are now being officially investigated by Transport for NSW.

The government department overseeing the $1.9m demolition called a halt to demolition work today after a diver’s boat was hit and capsized during an attempt to raise a set of bridge supports – known as caissons – which had fallen to the bottom of the Hawkesbury River after a failed attempt to haul them ashore last week.

Transport for NSW – who were handed our media questions from contractor Georgiou – told the Post this afternoon they had halted work at the demolition site while they carry out an investigation into the capsized boat incident.

Going, going, going a bit more, and gone...dive boat sinks after being hit by metal flotation frame

“During removal of the old Windsor Bridge, an incident occurred which involved a contractor’s dive boat overturning as a result of a metal frame colliding with it,” said a spokesperson for TfNSW.

“Transport for NSW can confirm no workers were injured as a result of this incident.

“Transport for NSW takes the safety of its employees, contractors and members of the public seriously. An incident investigation is currently underway and work to remove the bridge has ceased until this review is completed.”

At this time we do not have any details from TfNSW about when the investigation will be completed.

We’ve also asked the Environment Protection Agency about their oversight of the construction of the new bridge and demolition of the old bridge and they told us today they had not been notified about the capsized boat, the potential river bed sediment disturbance caused by the sunken caissons, or oil leaks from a demolition barge’s hydraulics, which onlookers say was finding its way into the river.

An EPA spokesperson told the Post: “The EPA has received 13 complaints associated with the demolition of the Old Windsor Bridge and the EPA has inspected those works three times - the complaints related to dust from demolition works, drilling and cutting debris falling into the river, muddy water entering the river and sediment disturbance caused by a boat. The EPA requested TfNSW address these concerns.

“As a result, TfNSW adjusted the management and mitigation measures employed to further minimise dust and the disturbance of sediment. The EPA was satisfied with the TFNSW mitigation.

“The EPA has acted on several complaints related to the construction of the new Windsor Bridge; matters identified included stockpile management, dust suppression and sediment and erosion control. These issues were satisfactorily addressed by TfNSW.”

Pictures courtesy of Neil and Jacki Dand

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