Safety concerns force busy Ipswich bridge to close
Drivers who rely on the Herbert Street bridge for their daily commute will need to seek an alternative route, after engineers deemed the bridge too unsafe to remain open to vehicles.
Queensland Rail has put a notice on the bridge which states "recent inspections show an unexpected rate of deterioration to the structure, making it no longer safe for vehicle use."
The bridge will close permanently to all cars from Saturday, February 22, but will remain open to pedestrians and cyclists.
Former Ipswich MP Ian Berry vowed the bridge would not close back in 2014 after Ipswich City Council expressed concerns over the pressure it would put on surrounding intersections.
About 950 cars used the bridge daily back then, compared to about 1700 cars in mid-2019.
Member for Ipswich Jennifer Howard said it came down to safety.
"Obviously when I first heard about it I thought 'this is going to create a bit of inconvenience for people who use that bridge somewhat as a rat run," she said.
"There is quite a lot of congestion on Brisbane Street since Bunnings was built.
"My plan, in between times, is once we have a new elected representatives at the local government level, I'll be meeting with them and discussing with them the possibilities of council building a bridge."
Some residents have raised concerns over losing what would be an escape route for nearby residents in times of major floods.
"That will be the core of my discussions with council," Ms Howard said.
Ipswich Mayoral candidate David Martin posted about the closure to Facebook, which reached close to 40,000 people.
He said he believed a bridge was needed and it should be replicated with two lanes.
"It's a bit of a contention with local residents because local residents obviously don't want a rat run developed, however other local residents need it as their major access," he said.
An Ipswich City Council spokesperson said the council intended to have more discussions with QR regarding any possible bridge replacement.
"It is still council's position that the bridge remain open with full access preserved," they said.
Drivers will need to use either the Burnett Street Overpass, located 450m east of the bridge, or the Gladstone Road underpass, located 750m west of the bridge.
Queensland Rail will continue to monitor the bridge's condition and work with Ipswich City Council to determine future requirements at this location.