It’s one of the Border’s most recognisable landmarks, but could this be the Wodonga Creek stock bridge’s final winter?
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A PLAN to repair the Wodonga Creek stock route bridge is likely to be ditched in a money-saving move.
Wodonga Council had budgeted $900,000 to fix the bridge, built for drovers 73 years ago.
But it now turns out that officers have withdrawn a call for tenders for the project.
The council will now investigate building a suspension bridge upstream from the historic timber bridge, in a move that councillors said could save $300,000.
Cr Anna Speedie and Cr Rodney Wangman were keen to announce the discovery of the potentially cheaper option at Monday’s council meeting.
But local historians and long-term residents see the bridge as a special remnant of the city’s cattle history, and don’t want it left to decay in the name of a few hundred thousand dollars.
The National Trust in Victora has listed the bridge as a structure of state significance.
It is still used by walkers and cyclists.
Built in 1939, it was constructed by the Country Roads Board as a route through the town for drovers and their sheep, cattle and horses.
The trust said that it is likely to be the state’s largest and most impressive example of a stock bridge of its kind.
The first time the option of building a new bridge was raised by the council was on Monday.
Cr Anna Speedie had discussed the idea with council staff after learning about Wangaratta Council’s construction of two suspension bridges straddling the Ovens River for a new walk.
These two 45-metre-long bridges cost the city about $300,000 each.
That figure didn’t include the cost of landscaping and connecting paths.
The Wodonga Creek stock bridge is much longer at 76 metres.
Cr Wangman tentatively flagged a price of $600,000 for a suspension bridge to replace it, a figure well short of the $900,000 budgeted by council for the bridge repairs.
Asked if he had considered the community’s attachment to the old stock bridge, Cr Wangman said the alternative plan would still allow the historic bridge to be admired.
“The advantage would be the bridge itself wouldn’t be touched,” he said.
“People coming over the swing bridge would be able to see the old stock road bridge.”
Council chief executive Patience Harrington confirmed the council was investigating future options for safe pedestrian and bicycle access.