REPAIRS to the Molonglo River Bridge at Captains Flat can’t come soon enough for families struggling to get their kids to school in Queanbeyan each day.
Local Mum Rayleen Jordon’s two girls – aged seven and nine – are currently trudging two kilometres each day up a narrow dirt road to meet the Deane’s school bus, which can’t access the town directly until the bridge is strengthened.
‘‘It’s just plain unsafe,’’ she said.
‘‘There’s logging trucks that use this road, there’s strangers, there’s old mining shafts along here, and to top it off, one of the girls picked up a piece of asbestos here last week.
‘‘There’s no risk assessment that’s been done up there. I work in construction, and we wouldn’t be allowed to work on a site like that, yet they’re putting our kids there. It’s really stressful.’’
About 20 Captains Flat children ride the Deane’s bus to school in Queanbeyan each day, and the current work-around solution is causing headaches for parents and bus drivers alike as they try to keep the children safe in rugged conditions.
‘‘No matter what they do up here with signs or whatever, it’s going to remain downright dangerous for the kids until the bridge is fixed,’’ Ms Jordon said.
Palerang Council closed the Molonglo River Bridge to heavy vehicles on April 5, after the bridge’s girders were assessed as being too weak to handle heavy loads.
Director of Works Gordon Cunnigham told The Queanbeyan Age last week that replacement girders were being sourced for the bridge, and would be installed in the coming weeks.
He ruled out replacing the bridge, estimated to cost about $2 million, and said it was outside the financial capacity of the council.
However local man Douglas McUrdy said replacing the bridge was inevitable, and called on Palerang Council to take that step immediately.
‘‘It does not appear to make good fiscal sense to spend thousands of council and rate payers’ dollars on temporary repairs to simply prolong the inevitable replacement of the bridge,’’ he said.