Trouble with expansion joints and a sinking southern abutment were revealed for the first time in a recent issue of the Derwent Valley Gazette. Until now, prematurely deteriorating suspension cables had been cited as the reason for keeping the lifting span out of operation for the last two years.
Massive counterweights which raise the bridge’s lifting span have been locked in place since October 2006 when it was discovered the near-new cables were wearing out. The closed lifting-span means access to the upper reaches of the River Derwent are closed to all but the smallest craft.
Two years on, it has been revealed that repairs will not start until mid-2009 and will not be finished until late 2010. The four-year delay has opposition parties in a state, and caused a government minister to completely forget about earlier funding for an entirely new bridge. Thankfully the ABC was able to remind him.