Major road works to repair or replace timber and concrete bridges have begun.
Two permits are approved by the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) for the designs of a road bypass over Kangaroo Creek on Bigga Road and a bypass over the Crookwell River on the Woodville Road.
The temporary load limits on bridges in Bigga have left residents landlocked.
"Work is scheduled to start on the Bigga Road at Kangaroo Creek bypass this week with the delivery of pipes," Upper Lachlan Shire Council's acting general manager, Andrew Croke said.
Mayor John Stafford said the bridge would eventually be replaced.
"The construction of a permanent replacement could take up to 12 months, hence the council has decided to install a temporary bypass to help provide a more immediate solution."
Construction has begun at another timber bridge.
"Work has commenced for a causeway at Cliffords Creek on the Willcox Road. This causeway did not require Fisheries approval," Mr Croke said.
"[This causeway is] expected to be completed in late August."
The contract to replace the bridge spanning Kiamma Creek at Harley Road was awarded to Bridging Australia, a report by the council's manager of assets and design reads. The project began on August 1 and will take 15 weeks to complete.
The report also shows that repairs to allow for the limits on the two concrete bridges on the Boorowa Road to be reinstated - subject to speed restrictions - are being investigated.
Temporary bypasses at another eight bridges have been identified which would alleviate load limits on the bridge network.
The council has conducted site inspections at all of the bridges and is preparing designs, applications for DPI Fisheries permits and preparing for the construction of bypasses.
"The temporary bypass designs, along with applications for the necessary permits from DPI, are expected to be completed by the end of this week."
Bridges with temporary bypasses:
- Kangaloolah Road at Diamond Creek
- Peelwood Road at Peelwood Creek
- Peelwood Road at unnamed creek
- Julong Road 1 at Crookwell River
- Julong Road 2 at Crookwell River
- Cooksvale Road at Peelwood Creek
- Arthursleigh Road at Sandy Creek
- Blue Hills Road at Monkey Creek
"These bypasses, once constructed, will not be subject to load limits," Mr Croke said.
RMS provides support
The Roads and Maritime Service will give technical advice on alternatives where bridge bypasses are unsuitable.
"On bridges where bypass crossings are not suitable, the RMS is assisting the council with assessments to determine if existing load limits can be increased using a combination of speed reduction, restricting traffic to one lane or temporary bracing," acting council general manager Andrew Croke said.
"These temporary measures would remain in place until permanent repairs or replacement are completed."
Bridges not suitable for bypasses:
- Jeffreys Road at Bridgy Creek
- Reids Flat Road 2 at Coates Creek
- Boorowa Road at Wheeo Creek
- MR248W Boorowa Road at Old Man Gunyah Creek
- Reids Flat Road at Lachlan River
The RMS will be conducting a site inspection of today and in the last week of August will carry out specialised load limit testing.
"This will help to determine if the existing load limits can be revised and identify what permanent repair work needs to be carried out."
The council says public safety is their number one priority.
External contractors as well as internal work crews will be used to fast track the project.
Rebate for detours
The Rural Financial Counselling Service is working with people concerned about the impacts of the local transport network on their enterprises.
Landholders have raised concerns about a hike in transport costs because truck drivers are forced to take longer routes to detour around bridges with load limits.
Those property owners who can still access their properties may apply for a rebate from the drought transport subsidy.
Changes made to the subsidy mean eligible farm businesses are entitled to receive up to $40,000 with invoices dated back to January 1, 2018.
The subsidy can not only be used for the transport of livestock but also for fodder, seed, chemical and fertiliser.
"For the people who can get around the bridges they can apply for assistance for those for all of the kilometres travelled as long as there is a record of that, even in a private vehicle," a spokesperson from the Rural Financial Counselling Service said.
Those people who are landlocked and cannot transport stock or other supplies are advised to phone the Rural Assistance Authority.
Landholders need for speed
Landlocked residents along the Julong Road are weighing up their options as spring draws closer and it comes time to sell their stock.
"We're one way in and one way out and we don't have alternative routes," Brian Fraser said.
Mr Fraser has a mixed farming property with prime lambs, Merinos joined to Border Leicester, as well as cattle at 'Millpost' on the Julong Road.
You can't muster them out of here; there's no yards and with biosecurity these days you can't move them through other people's properties.Brian Fraser
Two bridges along the road over the Crookwell River have temporary load limits of eight tonne gross motor vehicle mass.
He is hoping that the bypasses and causeways will be constructed before it is time to sell his stock at the end of October and in early November.
He estimates there are 6000 lambs, as well as calves, that landholders along the Julong Road will need to cart.
"We can't hold them, especially because we can't get grain in. It's an animal welfare issue," Mr Fraser said.
"You can't muster them out of here; there's no yards and with biosecurity these days you can't move them through other people's properties."
Temporary bypasses have been identified at both of the Julong Road bridges.
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