A bridge connecting Buchan and Orbost has been nominated as a priority for safety upgrades. Member for Gippsland, Darren Chester, said the ageing Buchan River timber bridge on Buchan-Orbost Road was an important connection for the two communities. “The Buchan River bridge is coming to the end of its useful life and is in need of replacement,” Mr Chester said. “Local residents, particularly the farming community, rely on the Buchan-Orbost Road for everyday use, so it is important the bridge is upgraded to keep up with future demands. “Replacing this bridge would provide substantial economic and social dividends, making a real difference to the day-to-day lives of locals.” East Gippsland Shire Council has nominated the bridge for funding under the Federal Government’s Bridges Renewal Programme, which assists local governments with the costs of upgrading bridges of strategic importance.
Director of operations, Chris Waites, said East Gippsland Shire Council had many timber bridges that needed regular maintenance, but the Buchan River bridge was among those most in need of replacement. “The existing Buchan River bridge is a singlelane timber structure, which has seen better days,” Mr Waites said. “The structure of the bridge has deteriorated over the years, and there are significant gaps in the timber decking creating safety risks to road users, including motorcyclists and cyclists. “The project would replace the existing single lane timber bridge with a two-lane concrete bridge, resulting in an increase to the current load capacity. “This would enable B-Double access and remove the high probability that the existing bridge will need to have a decreased load limit placed on it.” The Australian Government is providing $360 million from 2015-16 to 2019-20, with an ongoing commitment of $60meach year following, to upgrade and repair bridges across the nation.