Work on Prince Alfred Bridge at Gundagai
Gundagai Historic Bridges
The NSW Government (the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment – Crown Lands and Transport for NSW) will work with the Gundagai community to acknowledge the historical significance of the Prince Alfred Bridge (timber road viaduct).
The timber road viaduct has not operated since 1984 and is no longer needed for transport.
The timber road viaduct has deteriorated extensively in recent times and is in very poor condition, creating a public safety risk which will only increase as it continues to deteriorate.
It is not feasible to restore the timber road viaduct given the large cost that would be involved, the requirement for large amounts of timber, future ownership and maintenance requirements, and a lack of public need for the disused viaduct.
The NSW Government is planning to start to dismantle the timber road viaduct in November 2021, due to public safety and ongoing deterioration. Crown Lands and Transport are working with Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council and the local community to deliver a whole-of-government approach to achieve the best outcome for the community.
Have your Say
Consultation with the community is an important part of this project. The NSW Government is now seeking community ideas on how they would like the timber road viaduct celebrated now and for future generations. To complete this survey, visit: Prince Alfred Bridge Viaduct.
The survey is available between 24 September and 31 October 2021.
The outcomes of the consultation will inform the timber road viaduct’s memorialisation. We understand one of the benefits of this project is the opportunity to deliver a place for future generations to connect with and understand the historical significance of the infrastructure.
To find out more about the Gundagai Historic Bridges project, read the FAQs.
The timber road viaduct was completed in 1896 to its current design. It was the first major bridge crossing over the Murrumbidgee River. The southern end of the bridge remains in service today (and will not be removed), while about 711 metres of approach spans to the north have been closed to traffic since 1984 and will be removed.
The timber road viaduct (highlighted above in pink) has deteriorated extensively and is in very poor condition, creating a significant risk to public safety and the environment. The NSW Government is progressing this project while monitoring the water levels of the Murrumbidgee River, as a flood event in the area could cause further damage to the bridge and increase the risk of collapse.
As part of the timber road viaduct’s removal, the NSW Government will obtain a Review of Environmental Factors (REF), to ensure the natural environmental attributes, including local waterways and animal populations, will not be adversely impacted. The REF will be published on this webpage when it becomes available.
Safety is our priority
The Gundagai SES reported on 6 August 2021 that a section of the timber road viaduct had fallen at its southern end. Heavy rain in the area over winter increased the weight of the structure’s timber due to moisture retention, which is suspected to have caused this section to fail.
There is further risk of other sections of the timber road viaduct also failing, including the potential for significant collapse if there is a flood across the floodplain. Fencing and signage encouraging members of the public to stay away from the site has been erected in order to protect the community.
Work has previously been carried out on the OI Bell Drive spans of the timber road viaduct by Crown Lands, after routine engineering assessments identified some deterioration caused by recent heavy rainfall and vehicle impact. This was to mitigate a significant risk to traffic passing under the bridge on OI Bell Drive.
Consultation has occurred through a working group including representatives from Crown Lands, Transport for NSW, Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council, Gundagai Bridges Heritage Inc, National Trust, Engineers Australia and the Heritage NSW (Department of Premier and Cabinet).
Residents in the vicinity of the timber road viaduct will be advised on specific timelines around works to remove the structure.
The Gundagai historic bridges project will:
- improve safety
- enhance community connection
- celebrate local history
- reduce environmental impacts
What happens next?
The NSW Government is working collaboratively with the Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council, local community and independent agencies to remove the timber road viaduct and seek ideas from the community for memorial options.
An online survey seeking feedback from the Gundagai community is available from 24 September until 31 October 2021.
For further information on this project, please contact:
Mail: DPIE Crown Lands, PO Box 2185, Dangar NSW 2309
Credit: Images 4 and 5 Amie Nicholas, Transport for NSW