STANDSTILL: Traffic backs up as frustrated motorists come to terms with a long wait while attempting to cross Normanby Bridge.
STANDSTILL: Traffic backs up as frustrated motorists come to terms with a long wait while attempting to cross Normanby Bridge. Renee Pilcher

Get used to congestion

MOTORISTS had better get used to the long wait in traffic congestions when Kidd Bridge floods, leaving Normanby the only alternative linking Gympie to Southside.

Main Roads has said "there is no planning under way or funding allocated to construct a new bridge" that would raise the Kidd.

"However with the Normanby Bridge, an alternative and higher connection is within 2.5 kilometres," a representative said.

"During the next four years we're spending about $360 million on the state network in the Gympie region.

"We started a strategic planning study of the Gympie area this financial year to identify the strategic investment priorities for the Gympie area for both state and local networks.

"We understand the inconvenience caused to Gympie residents when the Mary River experiences major flooding."

Chairman of Gympie Regional Council's works committee Cr Larry Friske said the issue wasn't about Kidd Bridge but the intersections on either side of it.

He said the approaches to the bridge from Exhibition Rd and the Bruce Hwy would need to be multi-lane which was a "massive, expensive project" when considering the flood issue and the height and length of raising it from the highway to the medical centre on Exhibition Rd.

"There's no use building a bridge unless you can get the traffic across.

"The flooding is different from day to day planning issues for the bridge.

"To make the bridge level into River Tce, instead of turning right, you go straight ahead to the first house on the other side, would be 600 metres and that's an enormous expense."

"To build an embankment might lead to an increase in flooding in Gympie.

"There are all sorts of implications."

He said how to solve the problem was a question as big as the bridge itself.

An average of 12,000 vehicles cross the Kidd Bridge on a week day and about 10,000 cross Normanby. As a result, when Kidd is closed during a flood, about 22,000 use Normanby with massive vehicle congestion either side of it. The original river crossing was built by JW Mott after the 1893 floods and opened on October 11, 1893 at a cost of 1500 pounds.

The other point of contention is Coondoo Creek Bridge which has been reduced to one lane and the speed limit lowered to 60kmh until repairs can be carried out.

"A departmental inspection of the 54-year-old timber bridge, 34 kilometres east of Gympie, had identified the need for rehabilitation work. We're committed to a safe and efficient road network.

"The temporary lane closure will be an interim measure until the work has been completed.

"Until then, it is important to ensure the safety of all road users. We're also planning to start structural works on Coondoo Creek Bridge on Tin Can Bay Rd as soon as possible, following a delay due to wet weather."

Gympie Times


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