Bridge closure hits Tiaro
IT'S their lifeline to Tiaro but for the past two months residents living on the Mungar side of the Mary River Bridge have been cut off from their home town by two ugly black words: road closed.
Since contractors began flood repairs in March, Tiaro has effectively been cut in half, crippling local businesses and causing major problems for families who can't access basics without going to Maryborough.
Retiree Les Gardner said the town's Lions Club had been thrown into turmoil ever since the driving time to Tiaro had more than doubled for the majority of members.
“We still hold our raffles every Friday but we have to carpool and for some of us, it's a 100km round trip,” Mr Gardner said.
Before the bridge was closed Mr Gardner used to buy the stock needed for his property in Tiaro but now he says “it's just not practical”.
“It's too hard for the people who live in my area to go to Tiaro when they could go to Maryborough. I've talked to quite a few business people and they're telling me that they've lost about 30 per cent of their takings.
“All this for a bridge that was built in 1932 and is still going to be subject to flooding.”
But it's not just the longer drive that has angered locals.
Tiaro Chamber of Commerce president Daryl Stewart ,who lives on the Mungar side of the bridge, is worried the closure could be just as dangerous as it is inconvenient.
“It already takes long enough for an ambulance to get out here and now it will taken at least an extra 45 minutes,” he said.
“In a life and death situation time makes all the difference.”
A Main Roads Department spokesperson said work on the bridge was expected to be finished by the end of June.