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Chauncey St bridge work criticised

Some Heathcote residents fear work to improve safety at the Lyall Bridge may have the opposite effect in fog.

BRONWYN BEYERS June 25, 2014 3:10am

Contractors take a break from painting the barriers of the DG Lyall Bridge in Chauncey St last week. Photo: Bronwyn Beyers


 

The Lyall Bridge in Chauncey St may have received a facelift in recent weeks, but the effort to improve safety has left some residents less than impressed.

Last week contractors completed an upgrade of the bridge by painting the metal barriers on either side of the span with white paint that residents say may actually increase the danger during Heathcote’s heavy mists and fog over winter and spring.

During the past week The McIvor Times received a number of complaints from local residents concerned the barriers were difficult to see in fog.

‘‘They may be more visible during the day, but at night they blend in with the fog and there are no reflectors on them at the moment so you can’t see where the edge of the bridge is,’’ one resident said.

Leading Senior Constable Karl Kerschbaumer of Heathcote police said he was disappointed with the recent upgrade to the bridge, which he said failed to address the primary, ongoing concern for pedestrian safety.

‘‘I first started pursuing this in 2009 and was told by a council engineer back then it would take five years to get a footbridge in, though where they get those numbers from I don’t know,’’ Sen. Constable Kerschbaumer said.

‘‘The nearest pedestrian crossing to the Chauncey St bridge is the footbridge off Barrack Reserve and there’s the concrete ford on the other side in Shakespeare St which is probably even more dangerous for pedestrians.

‘‘Every year the council puts a footbridge for Chauncey St on the budget agenda, but each year it is pushed back,’’ Sen. Constable Kerschbaumer said.

‘‘It gets frustrating when you see how much money has been spent on projects like the O’Keefe Rail Trail, which won’t get much use.

‘‘Traffic is not substantial on the bridge.

‘‘It doesn’t get a great deal of use, but when there are events and functions on at the showgrounds we have to block the bridge off and divert traffic around it because it’s too dangerous.

‘‘Do we really have to wait for someone to be injured or killed, when we could fix it now and prevent that from ever happening?

‘‘We’re paying more in rates, but the money isn’t being put back into the community where it’s actually needed,’’ Sen. Constable Kerschbaumer said.

‘‘I don’t know what we can do next, but there have to be other options we can try, like funding it under tourism or recreation instead or even start a petition.’’

Sen. Constable Kerschbaumer said pedestrians should take extra care when the crossing the bridge.

‘‘Pedestrians using the bridge should make sure they stop and check for traffic, especially any vehicles approaching from behind them,’’ he said.

He advised drivers to reduce their speed when approaching the bridge and watch out for pedestrians who may be difficult to see, especially in poor weather.

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