Wet weather slows new bridge work in the Otways
Friday 13 July, 2012
Wet weather has slowed a project by Parks Victoria to replace six pedestrian bridges along three walking tracks in the Great Otway National Park.
The bridges are on the Sheoak, Kalimna and Henderson walking tracks and will replace old and storm damaged bridges no longer considered safe for visitors.
“Wet weather has forced us to stop the works and keep the tracks closed,” said Ranger in Charge at Lorne, Frank Gleeson.
“With the extended rain we have received in the park this year, the access tracks were being severely damaged, so we have had to call a halt on the works until the weather improves.”
Mr Gleeson said the Kalimna and Henderson Falls walking tracks will remain closed until further notice.
“We will continue to work where and when we can on the three Sheoak Walking Track bridges and hope to complete construction by early next month, although this could change with unfavourable weather conditions, making a track reopening time uncertain.
“As anyone who works in construction knows, working in the wet is never easy.”
“We are aware that the tracks all lead off from the Sheoak Picnic Area which is one of the more popular visitor nodes around Lorne, but safety is our first priority and it is not safe for visitors to use the tracks in their current state,” Frank Gleeson added.
The Phantom Falls Walking Track from the Sheoak Picnic Area remains open, but visitors will encounter track damage from construction vehicles and should take great care when walking on this track. There are deep ruts, muddy and slippery conditions and water inundation of the Phantom Falls track at some points.
All visitors are urged to take note of the conditions via local signage and through the Visitor Information Centre.
The $350,000 bridge replacement project began in May this year on behalf of the Victorian State Government and is being undertaken by Contek Constructions. The new bridges are pre-fabricated steel bridges which will span between 10 and 16 metres and are being constructed in four pieces before being moved into the park. The bridge deck is steel plated for safety and the hand railing have been designed to allow flood waters to flow through and over the bridges, preventing future flood damage.
Mr Gleeson said works were scheduled to finish in spring, weather depending.
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