PUBLIC opinion is sought on the future of the Bailey bridge on Lake Repulse Rd, near Ouse. The bridge was built in the 1960s during the construction of the Repulse Power Station. Hydro Tasmania continues to manage the bridge, which was only ever intended to be a temporary structure and is no longer safe for use by large vehicles.
The Hydro is considering options for future use of the bridge and is seeking comments from local residents. The bridge (pictured) was closed to vehicular traffic in June last year, but foot traffic, horses and bicycles have had continued access. Travel between Ouse and Dawson Rd, on the western shore of Lake Repulse, is still possible via Ellendale Rd, adding about 20 minutes to that journey.
Hydro Tasmania engagement programs manager Sarah Metcalf said the bridge’s signposted load limit had also been reduced to 3.5 tonnes, with locked boom gates installed at each end. “The boom gates were a necessary safety precaution to prevent heavy or loaded vehicles from trying to cross,” Ms Metcalf said. “We want to ensure the public is kept safe. “We estimate that a replacement bridge would cost approximately $1.5 to $2 million and given this significant cost, our preference at this time is not to replace the bridge. This would mean the existing bridge remains in place for walking, horse riding and cycling, but not for vehicles.”
Ms Metcalfe said the Hydro wanted to hear from local residents to better understand how not reopening the bridge to vehicles would affect the community. “We’re a major contributor to the Tasmanian economy, so our investment decisions have to be prudent but we also want to meet the expectations of the Tasmanian community wherever possible,” she said.
Contractors have recently been conducting maintenance on the bridge to ensure that the weight restrictions and current closures remain appropriate. For more information or to comment on the bridge proposals, contact Hydro Tasmania by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 0436 328 586.