Gladstone marina bridge could be closed for a month
GLADSTONE's marina bridge will be closed to motorists and pedestrians today, and it is likely to remain closed until the end of the month.
Assessments during a trial raising of the Matthew Flinders Bridge on Thursday confirmed there was a high risk of further pivot bearing damage if lifting of the deck continued.
Motorists and pedestrians are being told to use the road detour along Alf O'Rourke Dr to get to the Gladstone Marina parklands.
Acting Mayor Matt Burnett said all available options had been considered and a decision to raise and lock the bridge in a vertical position was deemed most viable.
"Unfortunately disruptions to the bascule bridge operations either affect motorists and pedestrians as road users across the bridge, or operators of tall marine vessels who require the bridge to be regularly raised for marine passage," Cr Burnett said.
"Lifting the bridge and locking it in place will enable marine access along Auckland Creek.
"Safety barricades and road closure signage will be placed at both ends of the road across the marina bridge with strictly no access for motorists or pedestrians during the extended closure."
Cr Burnett said contract negotiations for the pivot bearing repairs were being finalised and components would be manufactured overseas and delivered for installation.
"Council is tentatively planning a course of action until repairs are able to be started," he said.
"If the bridge is able to be fully raised today it will then be locked in an upright position and closed to motorists and pedestrians until the Gladstone Harbour Festival."
At this stage, plans were to lower the bridge and reopen the road to motorists and pedestrians on March 31, for the duration of the Harbour Festival.
The road will again close on or about April 6, so the bridge can be lifted.
This will enable marine passage for a short period before the bridge is lowered and completely closed to all marine and road traffic before repairs take place.
Cr Burnett said replacing the bearing mechanism had to be carried out when the bridge was lowered and fixed in its horizontal position.
"Council is strongly aware of the high importance of the marina bridge within the community and all options are carefully considered as disruptions may affect marine and land-based businesses and residents," he said.