Dungog Council is calling on the State and Federal Governments to provide some cash to construct a new Clarencetown Bridge.
It follows the closure of the 140-year-old Brig O’Johnston Bridge on Tuesday afternoon after a heavy vehicle caused significant damage to the single-lane timber crossing – as a result an up to 30 minute detour is now in place through Seaham on Clarencetown and East Seaham Roads for Limeburners Creek Road while inspections and repair work is carried out.
Dungog Mayor John Connors said Council has been advocating for a new Clarence Town Bridge to replace the single-lane Brig O’Johnston Bridge for several years, however the Federal funding was currently under review and not guaranteed. Both governments have also not committed to a further $4.86 million project funding shortfall.
“It defies belief that we still have a timber bridge on a major arterial route that does not allow for emergency services or larger transport vehicles to cross because of how old and unsafe the structure is.
“In 2020 and 2021 Dungog Shire Council received $14.3 million from the Federal and State governments (respectively) to construct a new Clarence Town Bridge. However, with the change in governments the funding was never provided, and since then increases to materials and labour has left us with a $4.86 million shortfall even if we were to receive the funding now,” Cr Connors said.
The proposed new bridge would include dual lanes and safer pedestrian access.
Transport for NSW are currently conducting an assessment on the damage to the Brig O’Johnston’s trusses and it is unknown how long the bridge will be closed for. Diversions are currently in place with motorists encouraged to allow for extra travel time.