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Historic Tharwa bridge under threat?

By Thumper 1 December 2005 15

No link I’m afraid but it would seem that the beautiful old bridge over the river is suffering from some maintenance problems which will cost the government quite a few million dollars to fix.

Sadly, in this current economic climate, it seems that the government are not that enamoured by the idea of restoring the bridge and have put up a few options as to how Tharwa will remain connected to the rest of Canberra.

Those options appear to be;

-Build a new bridge and destroy the old one, or

-build a new bridge and keep the old one, but not for use.

Given that this bridge was built in 1895 it has huge cultural and historical significance regarding the ACT, Canberra and the links to the highlands. To restore the bridge will cost a lot more money than building a new one. However, to build a new one means that the old bridge will get less maintenance money and would probably be left to rack and ruin until one day someone will say it is to dangerous to be still standing, and too costly to repair, so we’ll demolish it.

Now the bridge was entered into the register of the National Estate in November 1983 so it has been adequately shown that it has historical, cultural, social, and aesthetic significance, as one needs to demonstrate all of these traits before being entered. However, this does not ensure that the bridge is safe from neglect.

Let us hope that the ACT government shows some sanity and does the correct thing in restoring the old bridge therefore retaining a vital piece of the regions history for all to see and use in years to come. After all, I’m getting sick of old buildings being flattened simply because someone thinks a new building is better. One day we’ll look around and lament the fact that all the old interesting stuff is gone. And that will be a sad day.

Canberraconnect link to bridge is here.

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15 Responses to
Historic Tharwa bridge under threat?
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Thumper 9:31 pm 05 Dec 05

I agree with Midnite. By building another bridge you are going to let the old bridge fall into neglect. After all, if a bridge is not really used then why have it.

Whatever the case, it is too important to lose.

Will anyone want to remember the GDE in a hundred and 50 years?

fix the bridge I say, and properly.

midnitecalla 7:28 pm 05 Dec 05

I agree, maelinar that would have been a cheap option and a money maker to in stall a camera on it, as for insurance that could pay for some and then strip the bastard of house assets and then garnish his / her wages for life also chase up the line to the contractor ther were working for for thier liablity in this matter.Also the truck would make a few dollars as well.

NO jelly fish options . As for doing a “wagga” the bridge still requires reg maintenance any way so why not repair it and do the bloody job right in the first place instead of half assing, and pushing off for the future generations as is always the case in Australia today.

haroldbeagle 11:58 am 02 Dec 05

I say leave it up (open for pedestrians) and build a new one nearby.

In Wagga Wagga they had a similar situation with the Hampden Bridge (also a Percy Allan desing). They left the old bridge standing and built the new bridge nearby. The old bridge is now used as part of a walking track, for jazz concerts, weddings, etc.

Thumper 9:43 am 02 Dec 05


Your comment is true “Let it stand as part of our insignificant and short history”

However, if we keeps knocking these things down we won’t have anything of significance.

Let’s hope the bridge is still there in 200 years.

Maelinar 9:31 am 02 Dec 05

Everybody pays for compulsory third party insurance to the tune of some phenomonal amount of money each and every time they get registration…

How about when given the proofs, 1) a driver has caused this damage, 2) a driver on the road in Australia has to have CTP insurance, 3) the police enforce that rule;

I don’t see why the bridge wasn’t insured in the first place, as a heritage assett (prone to damage).

Besides, I’d rather 8mil be spent on fixing up a heritage bridge than some of the other shite that this government are doing on my behalf.

At the same time, they can put an automatic camera in, if your vehicle is too heavy, welcome to a new world of hurt.

simto 9:02 am 02 Dec 05

It does seem kinda logical that the moron who wrecked the bridge should be paying for its upkeep – anybody know whether they were charged with anything (say, criminal damage or whatever)?

However, it’s likely that they don’t have a spare $8 million lying around to pay for the repair. In fact, they probably don’t even have the $3 million that would mark the difference between paying for a new bridge and repairing the old one again (figures from Thumper’s post, may be wrong, but the fundamental point stands).

So, given that they’re out as a source of funding, it’s up to the public purse.

Maelinar 8:58 am 02 Dec 05

I was just thinking the same thing, why don’t they get the idiot who ignored loading signs and make him pay for the restorations ?

midnitecalla 9:37 pm 01 Dec 05

stop bitching shell out and lets keep the good old girl going, dont let it go like the grand old dame of a bridge up river at gundagai.

the NSW govt faced the same probs and took the jelly fish route, with that one. I drove both bridges in 1988 after the bicentennial works were carried out now i cant drive them at all, want to strangle the bastard/fuck wit who arrogantly thought he was better than every one else and ended up fucking over a good thing , make him pay or the insurance company shell out !

Vic Bitterman 8:29 pm 01 Dec 05

Build a new bridge to one side of the historic one.

Close the old one off to vehicles.

Let it stand as part of our insignificant and short history.

Let the wedding parties have lovely shots on the old bridge forever more!

bonfire 1:05 pm 01 Dec 05

the recent work was completed, but undone by an idiot who ignored loading signs and drove over the bridge in a too heavy vehicle and damaged the bridge.

sadly i think the historic bridge has had its day. build a new bridge to handle modern traffic and make the old bridge part of a park with a cafe or massage parlour or some over public use.

Rear_View 11:56 am 01 Dec 05

Whilst I’m all for preserving our (sic)local heritage an additional bridge should be built which meets the demand from increased trafic volume.

The existing bridge has been an ongoing problem for local residents for some time now. When the bridge is closed residents are forced to travel an extra 20 minutes just to reach Banks/Gordon.

Given that there is talk about building a commercial airport in Williamsdale within the next few years I would suspect that the fate of the bridge may be closely tied in with the outcome of these discussions.

Kerces 9:24 am 01 Dec 05

I also thought they’d just done all this work restoring or repairing the bridge. I think they replaced all the timbers or soemthing like that. The road was shut for some months and there was much rejoicing from the Tharwa locals once they no longer had to take long detours to get out of town.

Thumper 9:10 am 01 Dec 05

I believe it maybe around $8 million to restore and about $5 million to build a new one.

However, if someone can correct me with these figures then I’m happy to be corrected.

No matter what, the bridge should stay and should be used.

Indi 8:57 am 01 Dec 05

It would great if Sir (Sen) Humphries could pitch in and shuffle around to see the Fed Minister responsible – there’s a few bob in the coffers now and a couple of mill wouldn’t break the bank to restore the bridge.

Go on Gazza, prove that you care and can get the job done!

Blamemonkey 8:48 am 01 Dec 05

Haven’t they just finish doing work fixing the bridge?? I believe they should restore it, but I doubt they will.

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