Union Bridge not quite fixed yet

TEMPORARY fencing on the upstream side of the Union Bridge in Albury will remain in place for at least another six weeks.

The fencing has been on the bridge footpath for several months because of damage underneath.

It has nothing to do with the curved steel safety barriers erected on the bridge late last year, though the damage was detected at the same time.

A NSW Roads and Maritime Services spokeswoman said yesterday engineers carrying out a routine inspection found the damage.

Pedestrians and cyclists have still been able to cross the Union Bridge on the upstream side as a narrow path was left beside the temporary fencing.

Stronger concrete slabs will now be built to replace the damaged footpath.

“(These) will be installed by Albury Council on behalf of RMS from early May,” the spokeswoman said.

The work is expected to take about a week to complete, though that will depend on suitable weather.

More information about the works — such as starting and finishing times — would be provided when a work schedule was finalised.

The safety screens on the bridge were fabricated by Albury company Macfab for RMS at a cost of more than $100,000.

That was expected to be the culmination of a program to improve safety for motorists and pedestrians on the bridge that began in 2010.

This followed many years of the summertime ritual of young people running across the road lanes to jump from the low railing into the Murray River below.

As part of the initial safety program, a promotional postcard campaign was held to deter unsafe behaviour.

The then-Roads and Traffic Authority also erected signs on the bridge warning of the dangers and hefty penalties that applied to the practice of bridge jumping.

The screen project was announced in May 2012.

Within days of the installation’s completion, teenage boys and girls found a way to keep jumping off the bridge.

They slipped through a small gap between the bridge and the barriers and on to a concrete pylon before jumping into the river.

This problem was fixed in late January when workers put steel cover plates over expansion joints to close the gap.