Strathbogie Shire Council has engaged specialised heritage consultants to support a case to present to Heritage Victoria on the future of Kirwans Bridge.
The consultants, who have experience with timber bridges, supported Council to present options for the bridge’s future heritage to the Kirwans Bridge Community Panel who are engaging with Council throughout the process.
The information provided by the consultants is being utilised in an engineering brief which is required to support any future actions that are approved by Heritage Victoria.
Over the past year, the Community Panel, which as 10 passionate members, has considered many aspects associated with the bridge.
Various options have been discussed such as if the bridge should remain and how this could work, or if a new bridge should be instated for motorists, leaving the heritage bridge for pedestrians and cyclists.
The panel has also considered maintenance costs associated with the option of instating a second bridge for motorists.
Strathbogie Shire Council Mayor Cr Laura Binks said having input from the dedicated community panel who have ‘lived experiences’ with the bridge was important.
“The panel members understand how important it is to develop a case for each of the options presented,” Cr Binks said.
“At our June Council Meeting we allocated $100,000 for the investigation and necessary reports in order to make a presentation to Heritage Victoria”, Cr Binks said.
Community member Darren Lyons, Kirwans Bridge Community Panel chairman, said the panel considered the options which are being investigated by the engineering brief.
“While the process is quite time consuming, this means that we will end up with the best outcome for our community in the end,” he said.
A full engineering investigation report is required before any decisions on the future of the bridge can be completed and then presented along with the heritage implications to Heritage Victoria.
“Compiling the report will take around 12 months so we are reminding the community that the current speed and tare limits remain in place on Kirwans Bridge,” Cr Binks said.
The Kirwans Bridge Community Panel will receive a presentation of the engineering report before this is incorporated in a presentation to Heritage Victoria in 2023.