A bridge too far: producers raise concerns about change in load limits

Producer Peter Kelly, whose property is in the Hilltops Shire, says the load limit on the Old Man Gunyah Bridge will have a major impact on his operations.
Producer Peter Kelly, whose property is in the Hilltops Shire, says the load limit on the Old Man Gunyah Bridge will have a major impact on his operations.

Primary producers living in the Hilltops Shire on the Crookwell Road could be hit with extra costs ranging from $6000 to $12,000 a year with the change in load limits on the Old Man Gunyah bridge, which falls under the Upper Lachlan Shire.

Load limits have been reduced from 26 tonne to 7 tonne (single axle), 8 tonne (tandem axle) and 11 tonne (tri axle).

Local producer Peter Kelly said the change meant that instead of trucks taking the quickest route between Boorowa and Crookwell they would be forced to take a 100 kilometre detour along the Hume Highway.

"In 12 months I would make 10 movements over the bridge and I'm only a small operator," he said.

"It's $6 a kilometre to go through Boorowa back across to Yass to Goulburn, that's about 100 extra kilometres, a $600 extra freight bill.

"For the larger operators it's more like $10,000 to $12,000 for them," he said.

The change in load limit came after a report was presented to the Upper Lachlan Shire Council in May saying a number of bridges required urgent maintenance.

Mr Kelly said he had heard about the change through a third party.

"The frustrating thing is there's been no real communication or notice out there," he said.

"We're out at Rugby, in the boondocks and we get forgotten about."

Mr Kelly said it would also impact other people using the bridge from Boorowa.

"It's not only affecting us local primary producers, the IGA truck comes through between Boorowa and Crookwell," he said.

"There wouldn't be a truck going past that's under the limit, even the football team going to Crookwell would be overloaded and this is the only way they would come."

Mr Kelly said he would like to see a temporary measure put in place, similar to that of the Wambanumba Bridge on Murringo Road.

"You look at how long it's taken to fix Wambanumba, they solved that easy with the low level crossing and they could do that here too," he said.

"We just want some clarification on what's going on, when it's going to be fixed, because we need to plan for the future with buying and selling stock."

Hilltops Council were approached for comment.