Woolmers Lane Bridge buckling under weight

BUCKLING: The Woolmers Bridge at Longford has reached the end of its life according to Northern Midlands mayor David Downie. Picture: File
BUCKLING: The Woolmers Bridge at Longford has reached the end of its life according to Northern Midlands mayor David Downie. Picture: File

The Woolmers Bridge limit has been lowered as it has “reached the end of its life”. 

The Northern Midlands Council alerted residents last week, stating the 12 tonne limit had been applied “effective immediately”. 

Northern Midlands mayor David Downie said the council had been monitoring the bridge for “some time”.

“The council is now working through various reports to replace that bridge,” Cr Downie said. 

“It could take some time, we’ll have to get a report and then it’ll have to go to council for decision.” 

Cr Downie said council staff had been proactive in notifying the bridge’s users about new limit and had contacted locals directly, advertised in local papers, erected signage and posted on the council’s Facebook. 

“The limit has been put into place to protect people’s safety,” he said. “If heavy trucks go over it, it could collapse, yes.”

Cr Downie said users have access to other routes. Vehicles over 12 tonne can access Woolmers Lane from either Longford or the Midlands Highway, but are not permitted to cross the Bridge.

“It’s safe for a small truck, but not semi-trailers,” he said. 

“It is a very important transport route in our municipality.” 

Cr Downie said an engineer had been monitoring the bridge, with the aim to prolong its life for as long as possible. 

“It could take up to a year to replace. It has to go through the planning,” he said. 

The bridge’s location, on the historic Woolmers Lane, also posed a challenge, Cr Downie said. 

The bridge is one of the last major bridges to be cemented in the municipality.

“Northern Midlands was one of the first to start transferring to cement bridges and we’re reaping the benefits because they are cheaper to maintain,” Cr Downie said.  

The bridge is used to flooding because of its low lying area, Cr Downie said. 

“The flooding issue will be considered with the new design. If it is possible, the infrastructure will be improved if it can,” he said. 

It is unknown how much the redevelopment will cost, or a specific time frame of completion, but Cr Downie said “lots and lots of money” would be involved.