Grafton bridge 'beyond a crisis'

George Oxenbridge shows off a cross section of the Grafton Bridge top deck and plans of the bridge.
George Oxenbridge shows off a cross section of the Grafton Bridge top deck and plans of the bridge. Terry Deefholts

GLENUGIE builder George Oxenbridge has been campaigning about the danger of the Grafton bridge for years but now, as the old girl approaches her 80th birthday, he says contingency plans are needed to keep the traffic flow going while urgent repairs are carried out.

Showing diagrams provided to him by the Roads and Maritime Services, Mr Oxenbridge said he was surprised to find the thickness of the bridge's top deck, which carries vehicles including B-double trucks, was 175mm.

The concrete deck is reinforced by steel rods that are rusting and cracking the concrete and the steel girder supports are 1200mm apart.

He said the Moonee Hwy overpass was 220mm thick with continuous steel supports under- neath.

"It's beyond a crisis. It's just hanging on," he said.

Mr Oxenbridge approached Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis on Thursday with plans for an emergency repair and driver education plan for the bridge.

He said the $10 million plan would cover "toothing" together different sections of the bridge to reduce sideways movement and education programs to encourage heavy vehicle drivers to "go easy" around the bends.

Details of Mr Oxenbridge's plans can be heard on the Daily Examiner website.

An RMS representative said the Grafton bridge was managed by RMS and Australian Rail Track Corporation.

"There is no evidence to suggest the bridge and road will not be able to continue to operate safely for many years to come," the representative said.

"RMS' most recent inspection of the bridge was carried out this month. No concerns were identified for the bridge's structure, road or pedestrian footbridges.

"In 2010, RMS also carried out a detailed engineering inspection and analysis of the bridge's approaches and decking.

"The deck has some concrete flakes which have broken off the bridge at the edges where the road flexes but this does not affect the performance of the road."

RMS said bridge inspectors were scheduled to do detailed inspections in mid-2012 and underwater inspections by divers later in the year.

Topics:  grafton bridge, repairs



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