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24 November, 2020

Barron River Bridge update

The Mareeba Shire Council is seeking clarification from the Department of Transport and Main Roads concerning the Barron River Bridge at Kuranda which connects Cairns to the Tablelands, Mareeba and the Outback.

By Phil Brandel

The Mareeba Shire Council is seeking clarification from the Department of Transport and Main Roads concerning the Barron River Bridge at Kuranda which connects Cairns to the Tablelands, Mareeba and the Outback.

The topic was brought up at last week’s Council meeting with cause for concern as the Bridge was reduced to one lane with the possibility of its load limit being reduced from 50.5 tonne to just 25 tonne.

A council spokesperson said, “We are writing to the state minister regarding the new load limits,”

“Council is concerned that if the bridge stays at one lane and is reduced to 25 tonne it will have major implications on the local community” they said.

The Reduction in the load limit would have catastrophic ramifications for transport infrastructure in farming, business and general freight which will be forced to use alternate routes to supply goods and services.

KAP Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter said the reduction in weight limits ruled out all semi-trailers from transporting groceries, fuel and all general freight from Cairns to Mareeba. 

This means they will be forced to divert to the Rex Range, periodically congested with cane haulage trucks and adding an extra hour and a half travel time, or to the Gillies Highway, adding an extra two hours travel time, or the Palmerston Highway adding an extra three hours travel time.

Les Blennerhassett from Blenners Transport said that if the Bridge limit dropped below 45 tonne the company would not be able to use any of their single semi-trailers to transport goods to and from Mareeba

On November 4, Transport and Main Road (TMR) announced that the Barron River Bridge would be reduced to one lane while TMR carried out inspections. 

TMR admitted that they found issues with the Barron River Bridge and that further investigations were required.

When asked by The Express specifically what those issues were, a TMR spokesperson responded with “The Bridge is safe, but we have identified some issues, which require further investigation,” they said.

“The bridge has been reduced to one lane, while we carry out inspections.

“The lane closure is a precautionary measure while our team of experts carries out their investigations.

“Traffic controllers and temporary traffic lights are in place to assist motorists. Further action may be needed depending on the outcome of these investigations.

“We will update the community as soon as we have more information and thank them for their patience." 

For up-to-date information on roadworks and other traffic information, call 13 19 40, visit www.qldtraffic.qld.gov.au or download the app.

 


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