Topics:  cunningham hwy, department of main roads, ripley rd overpass

Overpass job may deliver timely gift at Christmas

CHRISTMAS is coming - literally - and the Ripley Rd overpass is still a work in progress.

The main link from Ipswich to Ripley has now been partially closed since an oversized truck smashed into it on January 6, and completely closed since repairs went into full swing on April 1.

Originally set to finish in August, the repair job has been plagued with issues since May, when asbestos was found within the old structure.

The finish date was put back to October, and then November, due to the problems encountered in the project.

A spokesman from the Department of Main Roads recently confirmed that the November deadline would not be met, owing to further delays in sourcing and fabricating the necessary steel plates for the bridge.

"The project team is working hard to complete these works as quickly as possible," the spokesman said.

"They are hopeful the works will be finished before Christmas this year."

For nearly 12 months of construction, the overpass, which crosses the Cunningham Hwy between Flinders View and Ripley, will only gain 40cm of height - with the clearance from the bitumen increasing from 5m to 5.4m.

The State Government is yet to provide a full cost for the project, claiming that the figure will not be known until the work is complete.

Owing to the nature of the accident in which the initial damage was caused, the government plans to claim the cost of the work on insurance.

The bridge closure has placed increased pressure on the Swanbank turnoff of the Cunningham Hwy, with traffic banking up at the intersection of Swanbank Rd, right back to the exit merge on the highway.

Inspector Keith McDonald said Main Roads called the police in to patrol the intersection after several near-misses.

"The police are doing traffic control to ensure that the highway traffic gets priority over the Swanbank Rd traffic," he said.



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