A week after work began on a bridge over Hodgson Creek on Beechworth-Wangaratta Road, the crossing is not yet open, to the frustration of those affected.
The structure is a temporary replacement for Golden Ball Bridge, which was badly damaged by flooding in December.
Indigo Vineyard’s cellar door has been closed since December 13 and owner Rob Hawkings hoped the bridge would be open in time for an event with Frank Sultana this Saturday.
“There’s just no traffic, so we had to make the decision to close the cellar door,” he said.
“We have been very fortunate that Jodie Goldsworthy from Beechworth Honey has allowed us and Amulet to set up a pop-up cellar door in her store.
“Until the last few days, I’ve actually thought they (Regional Roads Victoria) have done a great job … there was clearly a real effort to get the bridge open.
“My frustration has only arisen since it has been completed.
“The bridge was completed at the end of last week and I’m told they’re waiting on getting a safety sign-off for the tonnage capacity before it can be opened.”
Mr Hawkings said the main impact of the flooding was to roads and fencing and it was not clear if any government flood recovery funding could be accessed.
“As far as the vineyard goes, we were very lucky that because it was so short, sharp and swift, it didn’t mean there was disease developing from the rain,” he said.
“You have to be stoic and accept natural events happen and cost a lot of money.
“When the bridge reopens we’ll move back to our normal cellar door.”
Work started on a bailey bridge on Saturday, December 27.
Final technical reports and approvals regarding the installation are progressing, with an opening date yet to be confirmed.
Regional Roads Victoria north eastern acting regional director Rebecca Steer said RRV would continue to work with businesses.
“We understand the significance of Beechworth-Wangaratta Road as a key commuter and tourist route, which is why we’ve worked to restore access to light vehicles as quickly as possible,” she said.
“Beechworth is open for business – we’ve created detour maps, installed electronic Variable Messaging Signs and temporary signage of the detour routes, and shared updates on our website and social media pages to minimise disruption to the community.”