Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Nelson Bay footbridge won’t be rebuilt

Port Stephens Council says a pedestrian bridge at Nelson Bay won’t be rebuilt after a specialist engineering inspection revealed long term structural issues.

The report revealed long term issues with cracking and separation from the support structure of the Victoria Parade bridge, Council said today.

Facilities and Services Group Manager, Greg Kable says he understands the decision to permanently remove the bridge may impact some businesses and residents located in Nelson Towers.

“We need to make sure our structures are safe, meet building codes and don’t become a greater liability for Council and our community,” Mr Kable said.

“As part of our routine maintenance program, a condition assessment inspection identified that sections of the bridge and supports were showing distress.

“Following this, we removed the bridge in April so we could further assess the damage and identified a number of bigger problems including concrete spalling.”

Mr Kable said Council did investigate the option of repairing the bridge but the costs were prohibitive and would only ensure a temporary fix to the bridge issues.

“We’d have to spend more money in the next few years to keep the bridge structurally sound and safe,” he said.

“We also know that the bridge can be an area of anti-social behaviour and for the bridge to stay, we were looking at increased costs to install structures to deter this behaviour.

“Given the Nelson Bay Public Domain Plan included the permanent removal of the bridge to create a more generous pedestrian space, we’ve made the decision to bring this forward.”

An official start for the demolition works is largely dependent on weather, however Council is keen to have these works completed prior to the busy holiday period.

Mr Kable said a temporary site fence will be erected around the work area and temporary changes to the footpath and access along the Apex Park side of Victoria Parade will be in place to ensure public safety.

“The demolition work will involve the removal of the structures on the northern side (Apex Park side) of the bridge,” Mr Kable said.

“Councils safety and environmental teams have controls in place to mitigate the noise and dust expected as part of the demolition, and will be monitoring their effectiveness throughout the project.

“Works will stop on Remembrance Day to ensure that the service scheduled to be held in Apex Park isn’t impacted.

“We’ll continue to work with residents and businesses directly impacted by the demolition works and look forward to working with local business to revitalise the shopping arcade and activate the space over the busy Summer school holiday season,” he added.

Further demolition works will continue in 2023 to remove what is left of the structure.

Mayor Ryan Palmer said Council was committed to delivering the Nelson Bay Public Domain Plan.

“A key part of the plan is to provide a better street view along Victoria Parade and free up public space,” Mayor Palmer said

“As we implement the plan we will see Nelson Bay become more inviting with enhanced local character, attracting investment and creating vibrant streets that revitalise Nelson Bay.”

The Nelson Bay Public Domain Plan was adopted by Council 23 July 2019.

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