New Diggers Bridge to be delivered on time and under budget


Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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GAP BRIDGED: The old and the new Diggers Bridge, side by side, in Mowbray Valley. Image: Howard Salkow.
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The controversial $2.6 million Diggers Bridge replacement project in the Mowbray Valley is currently under budget, on time and is expected to be completed before Christmas.

In a statement to Newsport, Douglas Shire Mayor Julia Leu said Mowbray Road will be closed at Diggers Bridge to all traffic from December 10-14 to reshape the approaches on both sides of the river and lay bitumen.

“Once the new crossing is opened, pedestrians and cyclists will have access to the existing Diggers Bridge and interim work will include temporary hand rails and bollards to stop vehicles,” she said.

In one of the shire’s most controversial projects in recent times, it not only raised the ire of Mowbray Valley residents, it questioned Council’s commitment to the environment, and in particular the removal of trees.

In May, before work began, Council said: “Douglas Shire Council appreciates this is an emotional issue, but does not accept removing a small number of rain trees, which - while beautiful – are an invasive weed that encroach on and can destroy World Heritage-listed rainforest, is going against Council’s environmental stance.”

Cr Leu, meanwhile, said in the longer term, a capital works project will be prepared for consideration in the 2019/2020 budget.

“A landscape plan is part of the current project and will commence in the New Year starting with public consultation.

“This includes revegetation that will reinvigorate the visual aesthetics and boost biodiversity in the area,” she said.

Cr Leu said two original piles from the original Diggers Bridge have been retrieved with one displayed at the Mossman RSL Hall. The second original Diggers Bridge pile’s display location is yet to be determined.

The original Diggers Bridge, which was slightly upstream of the present crossing, was built by returned soldiers in 1919 and served the community well until the current bridge was built alongside it in the 1960s.

The existing Diggers Bridge will be maintained as a recreational facility for fishers, walkers and cyclists.

See the progress of the new bridge below. Images: Howard Salkow.

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