The bridge was built in 1916 and a detailed inspection was carried out in 2019. Photo: Christopher Tan.

Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council said it could take up to 18 months for a new bridge after the Wallendbeen Rail Road Bridge was damaged then fully demolished yesterday.

A minimum of six months will also be needed for Transport NSW, who owns the asset, to reassess, coordinate and engage respective operators to rebuild the bridge. Council learnt that an embankment failure at the bridge had caused it to drop some 700mm.

The bridge’s initial failure prior to being demolished. Photo: Wallendbeen Community Association.

The plan now, is to demolish and rebuild.

Council said Transport NSW has been proactive so far, especially concerned with the impacts the closure will have on the local community.

“We understand the complexity in a long-term solution,” CGRC General Manager Phil McMurray said.

“They [Transport NSW] are working closely with Council and John Holland on temporary solutions by local rail network and this may include additional detours or side-tracks around roads.”

Commuters are advised that Burley Griffin Way, between the Olympic Highway at Wallendbeen and Millvale Road at Temora has closed to all traffic.

Demolition work began at 6am on Tuesday and workers worked round-the-clock over this period, with the completion of it late yesterday.

The demolition work on Tuesday. Photo: Christopher Tan.

While the road is closed, motorists are asked to detour via the Olympic Highway and Goldfields Way, which adds an additional 40 minutes of travel time to their journeys.

Commuters travelling from Harden towards Temora, Griffith or even Wallendbeen, will have to find an alternate path, around the closed roads.

“Motorists are advised to drive to the conditions, plan ahead, and follow the directions of signs and traffic control,” Transport NSW said.

XPT services between Sydney and Melbourne will also be impacted with the bridge in close proximity to the rail tracks.

For day time services, customers will travel by coach between Cootamundra and Yass.

Night time services will be replaced by coaches for the entire journey.

With the long weekend ahead including a major event in Wallendbeen on Saturday, there will be plenty of “inconvenience” for the many months ahead.

Truck drivers will now have to find alternative routes as well as to include an increase in their travelling times.

Locals will have to source a different way to get in and out of town, as well as the long days ahead of machinery noises in the reconstruction of the bridge.

Freight operators seeking further information about permits or alternative routes should contact Heavy Vehicle Access Coordinator Craig Gibbins on 0428 410 626.

Road freight operators can also refer to Transport for NSW’s Restricted Access Vehicle online mapping site atnswroads.work/ravmap.

Christopher Tan