Overpass asbestos to stall upgrade
THE removal of asbestos from the Ripley Rd overpass will delay upgrades to the troublesome section of road by at least two months.
The bridge linking Flinders View to Ripley was partially closed after a high clearance truck travelling down the Cunningham Highway hit it on January 6 this year.
It was the last of several incidents in which trucks had struck the bridge.
The decision was made to completely close the bridge on April 1 so that repairs could get into full swing.
In a construction effort that was initially expected to be completed in August, contractors will raise the height of the bridge, while also lowering the road.
As a result, traffic headed to or from Ripley was forced to divert up Fischer Rd or enter the township from the south via the Centenary Hwy.
A Queensland Transport and Main Roads spokeswoman said the discovery of asbestos within the existing bridge structure, reported in the QT in May, would result in significant delays to the construction project.
"The process to remove the asbestos is under way by a licensed asbestos removal contractor and is estimated to be completed by the end of June 2012," she said.
"Work will resume at the site once clearance has been given and is estimated to be completed by early October weather permitting."
The department had to offer support to 150 workers involved in the project, following concerns over possible asbestos exposure.
The closure of the overpass has placed a significant strain on Fischer Rd in particular, as the southern section of the road is still gravel and was not designed to cope with large traffic volumes.
Local area councillor Charlie Pisasale said he was watching the area "like a hawk" to ensure the dirt section of the road was up to scratch.
Ipswich City Council completed a full upgrade of the road only last week.
Meanwhile, the State Government is paying for water truck contractors to be an almost constant presence, in an effort to keep dust levels under control.