BACK ON TRACK: Pickering Transport were ready and raring to go when the Swan Hill bridge re-opened to full capacity on Friday morning.Trucking companieswere rejoicing on Friday with heavy traffic flowing freely across the border again.
Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) removed the 15 tonne load limit on the Swan Hill Bridge by mid-morning after it was imposed early this month for emergency works.
Pickering Transport manager Daryl Pickering praised RMS for getting the work done quickly. Mr Pickering runs a freight company on the NSW side of the bridge and said the closure had a huge impact on his business.
“The costs have been enormous, both financially and in trying to schedule routes,” he said. “It has been really difficult for us to service the Swan Hill and surrounding districts.”
As an example, Mr Pickering said travelling to Lake Boga would normally be a 32 kilometre round trip but because of the bridge work, stretched to 100 kilometres.
“It’s been pretty bad timing considering it is stone fruit harvest time but I’m just really thankful for the hard work by RMS in getting the job done as quickly as possible,” he said.
The bridge now has a new Bailey support installed to reinforce its strength but this has meant narrowing the width.
Mr Pickering advised all drivers to take extra care when crossing the bridge due to the reduced width and urged them to drive slowly.
“For trucks, it means that we need to be as straight as possible when crossing the bridge to allow for the narrower crossing,” he said.
“Cars need to be aware when they’re waiting to cross from the Swan Hill side, to remain back from the bridge as far as possible to allow for the crossing trucks to safely get off the bridge.”
The new width restriction is 3.1 metres due to the installation of a kerb along the bridge to protect the Bailey truss.
According to RMS, the new width restriction could be in place for a further 12 months. Vehicles wider than 3.1 metres should use Nyah Bridge or Murrabit/Gonns Crossing Bridge.
For more on this story pick up a copy of Monday’s Guardian (November 23).
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