IT is time for the State Government to pension off the Moggill Ferry and build a long overdue modern bridge to link Riverview and Moggill.
That is the word from Cr Paul Tully and Cr Victor Attwood in the wake of the ferry being out of action for three days this week for repairs - forcing motorists to make up to an extra 40km round trip each day.
The ferry, which commenced service in 1878, links Ipswich and Brisbane with river crossings for just 12 hours on any given day.
Cr Tully said the Moggill Ferry was "a relic from the horse and buggy days when Cobb & Co coaches ran between Brisbane and Ipswich".
He said the bridge over the river had "been talked about for over 50 years but no government of any political persuasion has been prepared to consider it seriously".
"It is unusual to have a vehicular ferry in a metropolitan area in Australia," he said.
"It is time for a serious public debate, and proper consideration by the government, for a modern bridge.
"What I have said is that the bridge could form part of a western ring road around Brisbane.
"It has often been said that Brisbane needs a western ring road and it could come out near the Bruce Hwy at Aspley.
"Most Ipswich people support it and there has been most of the opposition on the Brisbane side of the river.
"It cannot be put in the too hard basket any longer."
Cr Tully has campaigned for a bridge for 35 years and said the Moggill Ferry "belongs in a museum" rather than being part of a modern transportation network.
He said the ferry, operated by Stradbroke Ferries, was subject to "unforeseen breakdowns, regular major maintenance and cancellation in the event of flooding in the Brisbane River including water releases from Wivenhoe Dam".
Cr Victor Attwood, who represents part of Riverview, agreed with Cr Tully.
"When the ferry is out of commission people are sick of having to drive all the way down the Centenary Highway and around through Kenmore to see family and friends or get to work," he said.
"The ferry has a history of breaking down and when it does people are inconvenienced.
"Any time there is a minor flood they close the ferry for people's safety, which they have to.
"But they need to build a bridge . . . and get over it.
"There has been planning and a transport corridor in place for God knows how many decades."
Cr Tully said it was time the infrastructure moved with times.
"It would be like continuing with Morse codes when telephones, NBN and computer systems are available," he said.
"They got rid of the ferry at Indooroopilly in 1936 and put a bridge there."
Cr Attwood said attitudinal issues were also at play.
"It is just elitism on the part of the people on the Brisbane side of the river that they don't want the people of Ipswich, and in particular Riverview, having a bridge they can cross to access their suburbs," he said.
A spokesperson for Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said that "The Department of Transport and Main Roads have investigated the possibility of a bridge to replace the Moggill Ferry, but do not consider this a viable option due to factors such as demand, flood immunity and significant construction costs," they said.
"The long-term plan for the western metropolitan area includes the Moggill Pocket Arterial Road, which would provide a new bridge over the Brisbane River to the north of the Moggill Ferry site.
"This would provide an alternative route to Colleges Crossing and improve traffic flow through Moggill and western Brisbane.
"Any future funding of the Moggill Pocket Arterial Road would be subject to competing state-wide priorities."
The spokesperson confirmed the Moggill Ferry was out of service for maintenance from December 13 to 15, and resumed at 6am on December 16.
"Customers were notified seven days in advance. We appreciate any Moggill Ferry closure can impact the community."
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