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STRANDED: Bridge closure leaves community high and dry

STRANDED: Axel Heij, Karen Blakely, Ashleigh Jensen, Juliet Christensen, Katie Benson, Graeme Jensen, Archie Christensen, Andrew Nahrung, June Nahrung, Don Nahrung, Kerry Carlson, Jeff Carlson and David Ross.
STRANDED: Axel Heij, Karen Blakely, Ashleigh Jensen, Juliet Christensen, Katie Benson, Graeme Jensen, Archie Christensen, Andrew Nahrung, June Nahrung, Don Nahrung, Kerry Carlson, Jeff Carlson and David Ross. Jacob Carson

LIFE is about to become a lot more difficult for the small, close-knit community at Theebine and Miva.

It tends to happen when your major throughway in and out of town, the iconic Dickabram Bridge, will be closed on-and-off for the next two years.

Long-needed renovations for the 150-year-old heritage listed bridge are slated to begin next month, but locals say a lack of communication with Department of Main Roads has left them scrambling.

"We don't mind that the bridge is being repaired," local Graeme Jensen said during a community meeting yesterday on the banks of the Mary River.

 

"We think it's a good thing - it's just that there's no alternative here."

With the last major repair done on the bridge back in 2009, the timber car lane is particularly susceptible to wear and tear.

The locals at the meeting have stressed the importance of the bridge's upkeep, but feel the logistical consequences imposed by it being shut completely haven't been fully considered.

Repair work will be staggered, with next month marking the first stage - it'll cause the bridge to be out of action for eight months.

"It's only a few minutes from my place to take the kids to school, all in all I'd spend maybe 20 minutes driving them," said Ashleigh Jensen.

"Without the bridge, that trip takes 35 minutes one-way - it affects everything."

There are also serious concerns about elderly and sick resident.

"What happens if somebody needs an ambulance," asked June Nahrung.

"What if they need regular care and that's delayed?"

Definitive answers seem to be hard to come by, with some residents saying they've received fliers warning them about the impending closure.

Others say they've received nothing - given less than a few weeks to make major travel plans.

Locals will have an opportunity to learn more at 6pm on April 11 at the Theebine Hall, were it's expected a team from the Transport Department will attempt to provide more information for locals.

The Gympie Times has requested a comment from the department, who are yet to respond.

Topics:  community dickabram bridge roads stranded theebine

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