Independent Member for Shepparton District Suzanna Sheed is calling on the Victorian Government and State Opposition to fund a new bridge at Toolamba.
Ms Sheed said the existing historic bridge was no longer appropriate for the growing community and could continue to pose a safety risk unless replaced.
She said Greater Shepparton City Council had costed a new bridge at approximately $7 million and would require a significant financial contribution from the State.
“The Toolamba community has been in need of a new bridge for a long time, and while Council has played its role in paying for regular repair works, it’s time we found a longer term solution,” Ms Sheed said.
“The bridge has been closed for safety upgrades several times since last year, but more work is required to bring it up to an acceptable standard.
“It has already had its load capacity reduced to 2T and it needs major strengthening works to increase its capacity to at least 10T to properly and safely cater for through traffic.
Ms Sheed said each time the bridge was closed for repairs represented a major inconvenience for the Toolamba community.
“The shortest detour to the north of town is 37km when the bridge is closed, and 51km to the south,” Ms Sheed said.
“It’s just not acceptable to regularly subject people to a 45 minute detour when there’s clearly a need to fix the problem once and for all.”
Ms Sheed said she had been in discussions with the Toolamba Community Planning Group about the town’s vision for its future, and agreed a new bridge was the only real solution.
“The community is very clear on this – Toolamba needs a new bridge, not a replacement or upgrade of the current one,” Ms Sheed said.
“It’s important that we celebrate the town’s history by preserving the heritage structure while ensuring it has the modern infrastructure it needs to truly thrive.”
Riahn Smith 0419 138 978│email@example.com