Submissions report and revised conservation strategy
The Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) Timber Truss Bridge Conservation Strategy Submissions Report and Revised Conservation Strategy sets out how RMS undertook public consultation on its draft Strategy for conservation of timber truss road bridges in NSW, how submissions from stakeholders and the public were analysed, and presents the revised strategy which reflects its response to those submissions.
In 2010 NSW Roads and Maritime Services prepared the document Timber Truss Road Bridges – A Strategic Approach to Conservation (the Strategy), which detailed a methodology for assessing the conservation suitability and approach to managing the 48 remaining timber truss bridges managed by RMS. These bridges have a range of limitations within a modern road network and the Timber Truss Bridge Conservation Strategy (the Strategy) outlines both operational and heritage considerations and applies a methodology to determine which of the 48 bridges represent better candidates for long-term conservation within the road network.
The Strategy was advertised for public comment, and these comments form the basis of this Submissions Report. Responses have been provided to all matters raised in the submissions.
The Strategy was advertised between 18 July and 26 August 2011 in a range of local and state-wide newspapers. Roads and Maritime Services also set up a website containing the complete Strategy, a Summary Report and supporting documentation including the initial heritage assessment of the timber truss bridges undertaken in 1998. A project-specific telephone number and email address were also established to receive submissions and answer questions.
Roads and Maritime Services wrote directly to many stakeholders, including 367 local historical societies, affected NSW local councils and other bodies and individuals who have made representations in relation to this issue in the past. Several public meetings were held including at Carrathool, Bombala and in Sydney (for the National Trust of Australia (NSW) and Engineering Heritage Australia). Submissions were accepted up until 15 September 2011.
The 106 submissions received included general comments on the approach of the Strategy, however the majority of submissions focussed on one bridge or a small subset of bridges in a local area. Submissions from heritage stakeholder agencies acknowledged the need for a strategic approach to the issue, although with some reservations. Community comment included submissions from 10 local councils, 15 historical societies and community groups, 13 businesses and more than 50 individuals. Comments varied in terms of support for retention or replacement of various bridges. The bridges with the greatest community concern were Carrathool (17 submissions – majority for replacement), Tabulam (14 submission – majority for replacement), Crankies Plains (also called Coolumbooka) (11 submissions – majority for retention) and Barham (9 submissions – majority for retention). Only six bridges attracted more than half a dozen submissions, 13 attracted between two and six submissions, another ten attracted one submission and the remaining 19 bridges attracted no individual submissions.
The Strategyhas been amended in response to the results of the community consultation. The amended Strategy presented in this report proposes retaining 26 timber truss bridges and progressively replacing the remaining 22, as road demands and funding become available.
The 26 bridges identified for retention now include Barham and Wallaby Rocks bridges. Roads and Maritime Services will retain these bridges in response to strong community support. Following strong representations from Goulburn-Mulwaree Council for a new bridge RMS now proposes to replace Lansdowne Bridge.
RMS also received very strong representations from Carrathool Shire Council and the local community for a new bridge. However Carrathool Bridge has unique features which strongly support it retention. As it would be located on a local road the provision of a new bridge is outside the scope of this strategy.
Roads and Maritime Services’ position remains unchanged on all other bridges.
The Revised Strategy is presented in Section 4 of the report. Roads and Maritime Services will present this position to the NSW Heritage Council for endorsement.
Summary of the Strategy recommendation for individual bridges
* Significant change in outcome to the draft Timber Truss Bridge Strategy
(‘Traditional construction’ refers to bridges that can be maintained without introducing modern materials as they will not carry loads exceeding 16 tonnes.)
RMS will support the strategy with policies to ensure that heritage conservation, interpretation and sustainability outcomes are achieved.
Prepare an environmental assessment guideline for timber truss bridge replacement.
Undertake a heritage assessment of timber truss lift span bridges to allow their opening mechanisms to be reactivated where necessary.
Within five years Roads and Maritime Services will undertake a heritage study of all 26 movable span bridges within its ownership.
Prepare a heritage interpretation strategy that will apply to both bridges to be retained and to the sites and materials from bridges that have been replaced, to identify suitable means of capturing and sharing information about the heritage significance of these places.
Prepare a comprehensive book on the heritage significance of the timber truss bridges of NSW.
Implement the Recycling of used bridge timbers policy for all bridges to be removed.
Implement the Timber Procurement Strategy to ensure adequate timber supply for all bridges to be retained.
Implement a skills development program to ensure the skills for timber bridge maintenance are retained within RMS, including bridge carpentry skills and heritage awareness for engineers and designers.
Executive summary 1
1Introduction and background 1
1.2The proposal 1
1.3Report consultation 1
2Response to issues 3
2.1Overview of issues raised 3
2.2General issues in relation to the Strategy 7
2.3Heritage Council submission 19
2.4Issues related to specific bridges 23
2.5Issues not specific to the Strategy or individual bridges 39
3Other heritage conservation considerations 41
3.1Further investigations required for groups of bridges 41