Diggers Bridge replacement set to open this week

DIGGERS BRIDGE

Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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The old with the new, which is in the process of being completed. Image: Howard Salkow, Newsport
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The $2.6 million Diggers Bridge replacement project in the Mowbray Valley is within days of opening allowing for free-flowing traffic in the valley.

Douglas Shire Council has announced that interim repairs to the road damaged during the Australia Day rain event are almost complete and Mowbray River Road at Diggers Bridge will be reopened to all traffic at 7am on Friday 1 March 2019.

“Sections of the road will remain gravel until after the wet season to avoid a repeat of what occurred last month.

“The project team anticipates the reseal and line marking will be completed in May 2019,” according to Council’s website.

This has been 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.”

Douglas Shire Mayor Julia, meanwhile, said in November last year that 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.

 

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