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October bridge strike causes highway pain

TIGHT SQUEEZE: A large traffic jam was created on the Cunningham Highway earlier this week when a truck carrying a house became stuck against roadworks barricades.
TIGHT SQUEEZE: A large traffic jam was created on the Cunningham Highway earlier this week when a truck carrying a house became stuck against roadworks barricades. David Nielsen

IT HAS been a nightmare few years for motorists travelling the Cunningham Highway between Swanbank and Ripley, but the pain is almost over.

Work to repair the Swanbank Rd overpass at Flinders View has been the latest cause of delays on the busy section of highway.

On Monday morning, a truck carrying a house proved too wide a load, and traffic was backed up for several kilometres while temporary barriers were moved out of the way so that the truck could squeeze through.

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On Tuesday afternoon, motorists complained that the section near the Swanbank overpass was completely blocked, forcing them to take a different route.

A Transport and Main Roads spokesperson confirmed that the repair works were the result of a bridge strike on October 15, 2014.

QT readers might remember the story of the oversize truck carrying a 40-tonne excavator that struck the bridge, tearing off chunks of concrete and steel that fell onto the highway below.

Despite the fact that the damage didn't close the bridge, repairs still needed to be carried out.

Those repairs began in mid-April and should be finished by the end of June.

"Works are generally being carried out Monday to Friday, between 6am and 3pm, with occasional weekend work," the Transport and Main Roads spokesperson said.

Motorists can expect traffic to be reduced to one lane during construction, with temporary diversions in place at times.

Transport and Main Roads also warned the bridge could be fully closed for 24 hours on two separate occasions during the construction.

Work on the Swanbank bridge follows the extensive repairs that were required at the nearby Ripley Rd overpass, following several bridge strikes in 2011 and early 2012. The drawn-out roadworks caused headaches for highway commuters and residents of Fischer Rd, Ripley, who dealt with increased traffic volumes.

The project to increase the clearance height to 5.4m seems to have put an end to the issue of bridge strikes.

Topics:  cunningham highway, ripley, swanbank




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