Gutchy creek bridge replacement

Too much spending is never enough on some projects

It was a close call at Gundiah, north-east of Gympie, where two-thirds of the town came within inches of being inundated back in March 2012. Gundiah received about 500 millimetres of rain that week, causing flash flooding in the Gutchy Creek, which flows into the Mary River. Luckily, no homes were flooded, but both Gundiah Community Place and the Gundiah Community Hall were inundated by the surge of water from Gutchy Creek reported as the Highest Flood in 100 Years.

Moving forward to December 2014, I spent some time speaking to locals, surveying the beautiful landscape, dreaming of better times for this regional locality and knowing I could help this community. In January 2015, I reported “Gundiah folk are very concerned about the single bridge on the main road. This is the access point to the school for their children and needs a safe walkway for them. Kids have created a bike track themselves but still have the safety issue of crossing the bridge. Would also like a park, skate park or something for the kids. There is only one bus stop and Gundiah residents would like a bus on the opposite side of the road for the kids. They loved my idea of the light rail and can’t see why a train in the meantime doesn’t stop at least once a week.”

At every opportunity, I raised this creating awareness and requesting action be taken to make a safe travel path for children to get to school.

One year later in January 2016 the then Acting Prime Minister, Minister for Infrastructure & Regional Development and Federal Member for Wide Bay Warren Truss joined the then Fraser Coast Regional Councillor Phil Truscott to announce a new $2.3 million bridge would be built to replace the one lane bridge.

Mr Truss said the old bridge would be replaced with a two-lane, 40 tonne limit concrete bridge and would be 28 metres long with a pedestrian lane. The project was jointly funded with the Australian Government contributing $1.144 million, with the Fraser Coast Regional Council matching the cost under Federal Government’s Bridges Renewal Programme.

On Tuesday 18th July 2017 I returned to see what the outcome of this big spend was. On approach, I was grateful for improving the safety of students, saving heavy vehicles a 78km detour at a cost of $1,200 per load and improving access and response times for emergency services by removing a 35 km detour; which back in 2015 I highly prioritised. When I actually took a closer look, my gratitude was quickly replaced with astonishment that this project was not complete. A great deal of work needs to be done to ensure the water flow is not hindered by its poor design and construction. Stones and rocks are filling the drain pipes and breaking the road surface. The embankments need widening to allow water to run away without washing all the support framework away with it.

Why does it look this way today? Because of not consulting the people who understand local flooding. I’m no expert in building bridges but I listen to the locals and completely understand what they are saying and local, state and federal governments must listen too. How much more money is it going to take to get this sorted properly and I wonder what time frame?

I have added an images of Emerys Bridge to show how a bridge that is 3 times bigger, cost $860.000 to replace back in 1998 which would cost $1,286,578.08 today. How does a bridge a third of the size cost $2.4 million? Value for money is thrown out the window, when governments fail to time the construction of infrastructure to make sure they’re not inflating the prices of labour, materials and equipment.

#wastefulspend #buildingbridges #politicalnews #gundiah

Gundiah is a beautiful place to visit

It is so refreshing to visit with a group of people that have ideas, solutions and provide facts and a brief history on the things that they are passionate about.

My heartfelt thanks to Sandra Groundwater Kelly, Editor Gundiah Gazette for welcoming us into her home. A grateful thankyou to Michael E Grounds for being my driver for today.