The first stage of a major upgrade to the historic Dalgety Bridge across the Snowy River is scheduled to go ahead in May.
$4.5 million has been allocated by the NSW Government to improve the bridge, which is locally referred to as Buckley Crossing.
The project is aimed at extending the life of the bridge and preserving its heritage value.
"[The Dalgety Bridge] was built in 1883 and forms an important link for motorists on the Snowy River Way," a Roads and Maritime spokesperson said.
The project has been designed in a way so the bridge remains open to motorists throughout most of the phases of the upgrade.
A sophisticated initiative
The 169 metre link is approximately 40 km south west of Cooma. It has a total of ten timber approach spans, each around eight metres long.
It is being brought up to speed with modern requirements via a detailed project that will also ensure the cultural value and capability of the community icon are preserved. The bridge is also an important part of the local community's identity.
The upgrade is being carried out to minimise future costs of upkeep and extend the life of the bridge. Crucial elements of the job include replacing the timber decking and reinstating the abutments and piers. These tasks cannot be carried out without closing the bridge to traffic and pedestrians at some stages.
According to a statement released by Roads and Maritime Services, work will begin at the start of May. The first step is to remove and replace the deteriorating support structure of the bridge.
Motorists travelling between Jindabyne and Dalgety are being advised to plan for delays and take a detour via Berridale. Traffic controllers will also be present to escort pedestrians across the bridge.
Roads and Maritime Services has already hosted one community session on April 8 to discuss pedestrian access and alternative routes. The next discussion will be on April 15 at the Dalgety Community Hall.
"Residents are invited to drop into the sessions, meet with the project team and learn more on the essential maintenance to be carried out on the bridge," the spokesperson said.
The Member for Monaro John Barilaro said the work will ensure the historic significance of the bridge is maintained and future maintenance costs are reduced.
He added that the Roads and Maritime Services had undertaken the project after extensive dialogue with the Snowy River Shire Council and the Dalgety community to reach a mutually acceptable solution. The picturesque bridge is an icon for the area.
The project is expected to take around 14 months to complete.
"We recognise the impact this work will have on locals and visitors and we thank them for their patience," Mr Barilaro said.
Ensuring a smooth operation
According to a statement released by the minister's office, during the length of the project there will be five days of total closure and 42 days of partial closures.
During partial closures the bridge will be closed periodically during the week and up to two hours at a time from 9am to 3.30pm.
However, there will also be night closures during the weekdays from 7pm to 5am.
"The work requiring full closures will be delivered in two stages and the local community will be advised at least three weeks in advance," said the statement.