Local News

Bermagui calls to save Cuttagee Bridge

Bridge 1

Bega Valley Shire Council are continuing to plan for an upgrade to Cuttagee Bridge, while investigating alternatives to the current proposal.

Council voted to demolish the heritage listed bridge in March and replace it with a concrete two lane bridge.

After a petition to save the bridge received over 12,000 signatures, a community forum was held in Bermagui on Wednesday evening which saw a strong gathering of locals, who not only want to save Cuttagee bridge but work with Council, to find 'a better solution'.

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Barraga Bay local, Blair Pelasie, said there was a strong voice about wanting to keep the bridge.

"It was an amazing turn out last night, with over 100 people from all around the Bermagui and Tathra area," Ms Pelasie said. 

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"They passed a motion at the end, it was very clear about wanting to keep the bridge, to ensure we don't destroy it and put in a concrete two lane bridge at Cuttagee," she said. 

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"But in particular I think there was a real sense of frustration at not being consulted when the decision was taken to go for funding."

 After successfully applying for 7 million dollars as part of the NSW government’s Fixing Country Bridges program, Bega Valley Shire Council was unable to meet the two year delivery time-frame, to carry out the necessary works on Cuttagee Bridge which has resulted in no committed funding for the time being.

Anthony Mcmahon from Council

Director of Assets and Operations at Bega Valley Shire Council, Anthony McMahon said Council is faced with a dilemma about how to manage the future of the bridge, with a number of complex constraints to consider including the cost and funding of the project. 

"From council's perspective, we're at the stage now where we don't have a clear funding source for the Cuttagee Bridge upgrade project,"

"So the current resolve position of council is to look to demolish the existing timber bridge and replace it with a two lane concrete bridge but when that last decision was made that was under the assumption that funding was still available"

"So we're still working towards that solution but also open now to exploring other options in parallel, just being mindful of funding sources."

A second round of funding may be announced down the track but the NSW Government has not indicated when.

Project manager for Timber Restoration Services, David Maggiolo, flew in from Brisbane to attend the forum and assess the site.

Anthony McMahon confirmed he and Mr Maggiolo reviewed the bridge's current condition on Wednesday morning. 

Mr McMahon said Timber Restoration Services will likely go away and discuss their options and may make a pitch to council about alternative works that could be done. 

Sheena Broughen from Barraga Bay, facilitated last night's community Forum and says it was a roaring success.

"David flew in from Brisbane because of what our community achieved," Broughen said. 

"There was lots of good interaction and the speakers from the community were just exquisite," she said. 

Honor Bermi speech

"From Honor Northam giving her poetic sense of a slow bakery at HonorBread was a deliberate choice in lifestyle, and likewise having a one lane wooden bridge, encouraged us to pause in life and contemplate what was better.

"So council had to listen to why the community is so passionate about keeping the bridge as it is.

"Anthony (McMahon) and the Mayor (Russell Fitzpatrick) said they would listen and they did."

Caty griffths

Council member Cathy Griff, said she did not support the policy to replace the bridge but understands how difficult it is to turn down funding when funding is needed..."but now we can see alternative methods and can create space to explore these.

Despite the lack of funding, Council are continuing to plan for an upgrade to Cuttagee Bridge, while also investigating alternatives to the current proposal.

Load testing will occur on Cuttagee Bridge over the coming months. 

Images: Save Cuttagee Bridge Facebook page.