Works to prevent further deterioration of the Old Goulburn Bridge in Seymour, possibly allowing boats to travel down the river once more, are expected begin over the coming months, with Council currently looking for contractors.
The Victorian Heritage Register-listed bridge, constructed in 1892-3, was once the entrance to Seymour from the Hume Highway and was the main crossing over the Goulburn River.
In 2014, Council started restoration works on the bridge, but they were stopped after it was discovered its deterioration was far greater than expected.
In consultation with Heritage Victoria, an engineering inspection and report has since suggested a new refurbishment method and Council is now in the process of securing a contractor to undertake repair works.
The short-term improvements will include installing cable bracing, removing the existing superstructure and waterproofing the remaining timber to halt its deterioration.
Mitchell Shire Mayor Rhonda Sanderson said the short-term improvements could see boats be able to pass under the bridge again.
“The river is completely closed to the public at the moment and boats and other water vessels aren’t able to pass under the bridge because of safety concerns,” Cr Sanderson said.
“The bridge has the potential to be a major drawcard for the Seymour area and it presents a wonderful tourism opportunity for our Shire.
“The long-term aim is for the bridge to eventually be fully restored and to even build a new light-weight pedestrian bridge with the remaining restored elements of the original bridge.
“However, these long-term works would be heavily dependent on the availability of being able to secure external funding. In the meantime, it will be fantastic to see these short-term works completed and for boats to possibly be able to travel down the river once more.”
The $183,000 short-term works have been funded by Mitchell Shire Council and are expected to start in the coming months, subject to contractor availability, river levels and the weather.