Frustrated motorists wondering when the speed freeze on Wallacia’s Blaxland Crossing Bridge will be lifted will have to sit tight after a neighbouring council’s engineers knocked back a request to reinstate the 60km/h limit.
The temporary 40km/h speed reduction has been in place since June 2016 when it was found the bridge bearings had come to the end of their usable life and required replacement.
But 12 months on, no restoration works have taken place.
“Following an inspection and testing report from our structural consultant, it was recommended that a 40km/h and 38-55 tonne restriction be placed on the bridge,” a Wollondilly Shire Council spokeswoman said.
“The restrictions are implemented to minimise the dynamic loading impacts on the bridge structure so that further damage to the bridge bearings is prevented.”
In an attempt to scale back some of the inconvenience, Penrith Councillor Ross Fowler recently asked for a memo investigating the possibility of ratcheting up the speed zone to 60km/h for cars but keeping it at 40km/h for trucks.
But Wollondilly Council, who are the lead on the project, refused, saying the move could prompt even further frustration and cars potentially trying to unsafely overtake trucks while on the bridge.
“It’s just been a long, drawn out process,” Cr Fowler said.
“Why is it taking so long?”
The spokeswoman said there has been significant consultation with third parties who have assets crossing the 100m bridge, also known as the Wallacia Bridge or Silverdale Road Bridge, with changes to the design as part of the approval process from these stakeholders.
“We have had to reject all tenders due to these changes and have recently received updated proposals for a revised specification and scope,” she said.
Wollondilly Council is working towards awarding a contract this month, with works expected to commence in October and be completed by the end of February next year, depending on the “successful contractor’s methodology and program”.