The bill for repairing the collapsed bridge could be as high as $750,000, says Cr Carter.
The bill for repairing the collapsed bridge could be as high as $750,000, says Cr Carter. Tanisha Titmarsh

Fixing bridge may cost $750,000

WOULD you be willing to accept a rate rise to pay for a replacement for Mt Morgan’s fallen swinging bridge?

That’s the question Mayor Brad Carter wants to ask ratepayers across the region as Rockhampton Regional Council seeks to balance community expectations against the cost of a new crossing.

He says a new bridge could cost up to $750,000 – and that’s money the council just doesn’t have lying around.

Yet more than 500 people from all across the region have joined a facebook page dedicated to rebuilding the historic structure. Many of those people believe the council is culpable, either for allowing the bridge to deteriorate to the point where collapse was inevitable, or by allowing contractors too dig close to the anchor points, hastening its demise.

He said the engineer’s report, commissioned by the Department of Resource Management and released on Tuesday, suggested some options but did not investigate what it might cost to repair or replace the structure.

“It’s an interim report and contains no detailed assessment of the geotechnical analysis or what would be involved. I’ve heard $750,000 mentioned and I think it’s a fair question to ask our ratepayers if they feel that sort of cost can be justified to provide approximately 20 people with a safe route into town during a flood?”

Cr Carter said he had no qualms with facing a potentially angry crowd in Mount Morgan on Sunday because he was absolutely certain that the council had done nothing wrong and was not at fault.

“In my view it is clear that the bridge failed because of 20 years of neglect and I have no problem going to the community meeting to state the case.”

He and the divisional councillor Sandra O’Brien will attend the meeting to be held at The Emporium, next to the town’s museum, at mid-day on Sunday.

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