Barrington is due to get a new bridge, a proposal that has been talked about for several years.
In 2015, former Upper Hunter MP George Souris announced that the Barrington Bridge was one of 22 bridges identified for replacement in the 2012 Roads and Maritime Timber Truss Bridge Conservation Strategy developed in consultation with the Heritage Council of NSW.
In August 2016, Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) awarded the construction of the new bridge to GHD Pty Ltd and work began on the design and the environmental assessment by that November.
Some of the main points of the proposal would involve:
- Construction of a new concrete super-T girder bridge over the Barrington River, about 108 metre long, 14.43 metres wide and incorporating a 2.8 metres-wide path for pedestrians
- Alterations to the alignment of the road approaches of Thunderbolts Way to the east and west to link with the new bridge
- Closure of the existing bridge.
Outlined in the RMS New Barrington Bridge document released in March 2018, the conservation strategy identified “Barrington Bridge for replacement as it does not meet current loading standards, cannot be upgraded to meet the standards and is expensive to maintain.”
Within the document, it was stated that in January 2018 the existing Barrington Bridge, an Allan truss bridge built in 1920, was identified as requiring removal in the conservation strategy and had since been removed from the RMS Heritage and Conservation Register as a pre-cursor to a separate proposal to remove the bridge once it has been closed.
It acknowledges the Gloucester Local Environment Plan 2010 has the bridge listed as a locally significant heritage item, however the RMS report indicates the construction of the new bridge will decrease the aesthetic values of the existing bridge.
“There would also be a moderate impact on the social values as the bridge would no longer be accessible so more limited opportunities to utilise and experience the bridge would result. A low impact on historical values would also result as the bridge would no longer be used in the manner for which it was designed and built,” the report stated.
The idea of the existing bridge being removed has upset Gloucester resident, Bob Teoh who believes the existing bridge should be kept for its historical significance.
“Let the RMS plan for a new bridge go ahead,” he stated in a letter to the Gloucester Advocate. “But there is no need to get rid of the existing bridge.
“Let it be used only for light passenger cars while freight and heavy as well as light vehicles can use the new bridge.”
“This way we can preserve the heritage, historical and community significance of the Barrington Bridge and modernise road transport at the same time,” he explained.
Following the completion of construction of the $18 million new bridge, MidCoast Council would inherit the ownership and maintenance responsibilities.
The proposal is expected to begin in December 2018 and take about 12 months to complete, with the project funded by the NSW Government under the Bridges for the Bush initiative.