The bridge at Colleges Crossing inundated with flood waters.
The bridge at Colleges Crossing inundated with flood waters. User Contributed

Colleges Crossing bridge project back on political agenda

IPSWICH West MP Sean Choat has put the Colleges Crossing Bridge back on the political agenda, vowing to have a long-awaited new bridge built.

His push has the backing of Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale while Mr Choat's government has promised to re-examine the bridge project.

The crossing over the Brisbane River was in the spotlight during the 2011 and 2013 floods and when Wivenhoe Dam was being drawn down.

While the nearby recreation reserve was devastated by floodwater, the bridge going under water cut residents off and caused major disruption.

A long bridge linking the highest points on either side of the crossing has been written off as too expensive but Mr Choat said there was a cheaper option.

"I'm a resident at Karalee so I know it intimately. My son goes to Mt Crosby School so I have to go across every day," Mr Choat said.

"My view is we don't need this humungous bridge going from the highest point to the highest point, as the Mayor said.

"I think if we raised the level of the crossing four to five metres it would mean that when there was a Wivenhoe drawdown the road would not be submerged."

He said he took a petition to the Parliament calling for a new bridge signed by about 1500 residents.

"The idea is we accept as a community that in one of those one in 100 year flood events any crossing in probably going to go under," he said.

"However, that is a major thoroughfare and the days of it being cut off on a regular basis have to come to an end.

"I think it's about time we thought seriously about the future of that bridge. What I ask is that planning commence. It's something I think we have to make a priority."

Cr Pisasale raised the issue last week when Local Government Minister David Crisafulli was in Ipswich to announce flood proofing measures for the recreation reserve.

"We can't put a bridge from point A to point B - that would cost billions - but I think we could be smarter. I think by putting in some box culverts a little bit higher it would raise it so when you're releasing water it will make it a lot easier," he said.

"At Churchill when I first became a councillor I wanted to put a bridge there for the cycleway that goes across to the showgrounds.

"The quote was $1.3 million. This old bloke said, 'Get some box culverts and turn them upside down'.

"I went to the engineers and they said they'd wash away. I asked them how much it would cost and they said $10,000. I said: 'Do it.'

"It's the only piece of infrastructure in this city that's withstood all floods."

Mr Crisafulli said he thought it was a good idea.

"In terms of flood recovery the most important thing has been roads and that sort on infrastructure," he said.

"These things cost money but we'll certainly have a look at it."

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