The restoration of the 770m long iconic Snowy River trestle bridge on the East Gippsland Rail Trail has not been immune to the significant cost increases affecting the wider construction industry. Costing on the bridge restoration project carried out by Wood Research and Design, available in a preliminary report in January 2023, indicated that the project would be over budget.
Given the construction cost environment, the over-run was not unexpected. The Project Control Group (made up principally of local volunteers) set about working very hard to rescope the project to reduce any over-run, and to seek a variation to the grant approval with the Victorian State Government.
The rescope will include the essential major repairs to the bridge structure, and partial re-decking extending from either end to a viewing platform. Further funding would then be sought to complete more extensive decking at a future date.
A large amount of planning work has been undertaken to support the Permit Application, including archaeological assessment of potential cultural impact, a heritage impact assessment, a vegetation offset report, and a Landscape Master Plan.
Tenders were opened for construction work in May, and interviews with contractors conducted in the first week of July.
Detailed design of the carparks is complete, and their construction will be part of the first works to be undertaken on site, due to start shortly.
As part of her report, the President of the Save the Snowy River Bridge group, Liz Mitchell, expressed her deepest thanks for what a small group has achieved this year in such a massive project.