Rod and Ruve Thefs have lost the bridge to their Cedar Pocket home.
Rod and Ruve Thefs have lost the bridge to their Cedar Pocket home. Craig Warhurst

Powerful floodwater sweeps bridge from footings

THE Elliott Rd bridge over Deep Creek was a bridge too far gone yesterday.

The timber creek crossing may not have gone very far, but its decking and substructure are no longer where they should be.

Deep Creek was running a lot deeper and stronger that usual overnight, when powerful floodwater swept the bridge from its ancient footings, leaving it jammed on its side against trees just downstream.

Dairy farmers Len, Rodney and Ruve Thefs discovered the damage when they went to move cattle from their dairy, on one side of the creek, to the lush pasture waiting for them on the other.

Yesterday 400 milkers were at the dairy, with limited feed, while pastures and much of the farm's machinery were across the creek.

"It means Rodney and Ruve can't get home," Len explained yesterday.

No one can complain the bridge has not performed well over uncountable years, carrying the weight of tramping cattle and heavy farm equipment.

"I've been here 43 years and this was an old timber bridge when we got here," Len said.

Although Rodney was confident of being able to pick his way across the creek yesterday, given a modest fall in creek level, no one seemed confident of being able to get cattle or machinery across the creek.

"There were major repairs (to the bridge) 25 to 30 years ago and for a long time there has been no pylon to anchor it on one corner," he said.

"It's been going to go for a long time. The council has plans to patch it up, but because of all the work they have on at the moment, they haven't been able to do it."

Now they may have to.

With the pastures on one side and the milking herd on the other, the Thefs will have to make a temporary crossing, something they are reluctant to do because of possible hoof damage to creek banks.

"After a week the cattle will start to get a bit thin," Rod said.

"Once the creek goes down a bit, we'll make a crossing.

"I'll be able to pick my way across when the creek goes down a bit, so I can feed the birds and do a few jobs."

"I wouldn't like to guess how old the bridge is," Len said.

"But it's been here a long time."

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