Council is replacing the single-lane Pincombes Bridge (Break O’Day Bridge) on Break O’Day Road in Glenburn.

Council has engaged CASA Projects for the replacement of Break O’Day Road Bridge, over the Yea River, 400 metres west of the Melba Highway, with construction set to commence in the coming weeks.

The bridge will be replaced with a new single span bridge, which is 25 metres in length and 8.2 metres wide. The new bridge is designed with an unlimited load capacity and will provide for two-way traffic. Our contractors anticipate they will commence preliminary works on Monday 31 October 2022, with construction starting from Monday 14 November. We expect construction of this project to take five weeks to complete, which would see us opening the new bridge to traffic in mid-December. During this time, the road and bridge access will be closed to traffic.

Council has previously looked at options to keep the road open, while the new bridge is being built. The original proposed plan was to install a temporary bridge, while the old bridge is dismantled and the new bridge is constructed, to allow for local traffic only. However, after we explored this option in greater detail, we found that it would cause significant environmental impacts to the riverbed and the surrounding riverbanks. It would also come at a large cost, to install the temporary bridge, dismantle it at the end of the project, and repair the riverbanks.

The quickest and most cost-effective option, which will cause the least impact to the river and presents the lowest risk during this period of high rainfall, is to close the road while the existing bridge is dismantled and replaced. We understand this closure will impact residents who live on Break O’Day Road, particularly residents travelling toward Yarra Glen and Melbourne.

To provide an opportunity for the community to learn more about the project and the road closure, we are holding a community meeting at Glenburn Hall on Thursday 27 October from 4.00 – 6.00 pm. Council officers will be on site to answer any questions. There is no need to register to attend this meeting and we look forward to talking to you about this important project.

Frequently Asked Questions

Break Oday Road is used by local residents and as a through route for general freight trucks, busses and logging vehicles, including B double trucks. The existing bridge was not designed for the current traffic requirements.

The current bridge on Break Oday Road was constructed in 1956 and only allows for one lane of traffic. This poses several safety risks to road users and does not accommodate increased traffic in the area.

The bridge is being replaced to better service road users, including the local community, and to provide an improved level of safety. The new bridge will also be more resilient to extreme weather events, including flooding.

Originally, we spoke to the community in May about installing a temporary bridge (and access track) to allow restricted vehicle access to traffic during an 8–10-week construction period. Access to the temporary bridge would have been managed through appropriate traffic management and would have seen delays of up to 15 minutes each way for commuters.

Since then, we have completed further assessments, including looking at the environmental impacts, and we have sought approvals from relevant authorities.

As part of the approval process, Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (GBCMA) requested changes to the height of the bridge to accommodate increased water capacity, allowing for a 1 in 100-year flood event. Changes were made to the bridge design to reflect an increased height of 1 metre above the existing bridge deck.

This change has impacts on the road height, which needs to be raised, the road gradient and the worksite zone. It means we will need to extend the worksite further along the road in both directions.

This affects our ability to provide access to a temporary bridge, by way of an access track, without it clashing with the extended worksite area and causing safety issues. Extending the access track beyond the worksite area is not a feasible option as it would mean removal of a significant amount of native vegetation.

Since we last spoke, we also looked at the environmental impacts regarding the temporary bridge installation. It was found that installing the temporary bridge would cause significant environmental impacts to the delicate river ecosystem surrounding the bridge site, which includes a range of native animals and fish species. This is due to the large amount of rock and fill needed to install appropriate footings for the temporary bridge, which would extend into the river system. Given the current La Nina weather conditions and forecasts, we anticipate in a major rain event, this rock and fill would cause flooding to surrounding properties, impact the temporary bridge structure and the river ecosystem.

These additional factors were presented to Council recently. We are now proposing a shorter construction period of 7 weeks, but we would need to close access to the bridge for 5 weeks meaning delays/detours of 20-40 minutes for some residents, depending on their direction of travel. There will be a two-week period of preparation work resulting in minor delays prior to the closure of the bridge.

Given the delays we’ve experienced with this project, we now have a small window of opportunity to construct the new bridge. By completing the project in the timeframes we’ve proposed, it will mean:

  • we can reopen the bridge and road before Christmas
  • we will avoid construction and road closures during the fire danger period / bushfire season
  • less impact on VCE students sitting their exams, with only one exam session falling in the proposed construction timeframe
  • Council is able to meet the grant funding requirements, given this project is funded through the Federal Government’s Bridge Renewal Program
  • less impact to the natural environment surrounding the bridge site

We understand the bridge closure will impact residents in this area, particularly those travelling toward Yarra Glen and Melbourne. However, the temporary bridge would have caused delays to travel times of at least 15 minutes over an 8-10 week construction period. By closing the bridge during the construction period, we can complete the project within 7 weeks, with a bridge closure of 5 weeks, and we can reopen the bridge before Christmas.

Council did explore options to try to keep the road open, while the new bridge was being dismantled and constructed.

The first option we explored was to keep the existing bridge open to traffic, while the new bridge was being constructed. This is not a feasible option, as it is likely to cause alignment issues with the road and new bridge and the width of the road reserve in this space inhibits the ability to construct a bridge on an alternate alignment.

The second option we explored was to provide a temporary bridge over the river. It was found that this option is likely to cause significant environmental impacts, including impacts on the river ecosystem. The temporary bridge would also be susceptible to extreme weather events, including the recent flooding experienced across the Shire, and we cannot take this risk, given the forecasted rainfall this Spring.

Installing a temporary bridge would also come at a significant cost. However, the cost is not the deciding factor in our ability to provide a temporary bridge. We are committed to investing the money we would have spent on the temporary bridge in road improvement works in the Glenburn area.

If the temporary bridge was a viable option, residents and road users would still experience traffic delays on either side of the bridge, with queuing and delays of at least 15 minutes each way. This option would also result in a longer construction period of up to 8-10 weeks. Due to limited supply, is it also likely we would experience delays in securing a temporary bridge suitable for this project, meaning we would not be able to deliver the project until next year.

The road and new bridge will be open in mid-December, well before Christmas and the bushfire season. Council’s contractors are scheduled to commence preliminary works early next week, with full construction and the five-week bridge closure scheduled to commence from Monday 14 November 2022.

Construction works include building the road approaches up to the new height of the bridge deck, and road and bridge sealing. Three teams will be working on the bridge and two sections of road at the same time, which requires closure of the bridge. This will ensure the project is completed as quicky as possible, minimising the impact on residents.

We recently finalised the design for the project, following additional assessments and requested changes from GBCMA. Due to these changes, we were required to present the revised design to Council for consideration.

We now have a small window of opportunity available to complete this project, to ensure the bridge is open before Christmas and the bushfire season. We’ve had to balance the need to follow Council processes, contractor availability and weather conditions, while trying to provide as much notice as we can to the community so they can prepare for the bridge closure.

It is important to note that providing temporary access will significantly damage the delicate ecosystem surrounding the bridge site and may well impact native animal and fish species in and around the water way. These impacts would then extend to native vegetation surrounding the site as it would need to be removed or would be extremely impacted upon. The temporary bridge would not provide a significant benefit in reducing travel time or delays and is prone to further damage during periods of heavy rainfall, which may lead to flooding.

In light of this, we are open to exploring options to minimise impact to residents and business owners who are affected by the bridge closure.

If you would like to talk to someone about the project or your concerns, please get in touch with our Project Delivery team on 5772 0333.

In the event of an emergency, emergency vehicles, including CFA and Ambulance, will be directed via the quickest route available. All agencies will be advised prior to the closure of the bridge.

We understand that families travel over the bridge to drop their children to school, and that the closure will have an impact on their daily route. We are open to exploring options to minimise impact to affected families and would like to hear from you.

If you would like to talk to someone about the project or your concerns, please get in touch with our Project Delivery team on 5772 0333.

We understand people operate businesses in the area, and that the closure will have an impact on business operations. We are open to exploring options to minimise impact to residents and business owners and would like to hear from you.

If you would like to talk to someone about the project or your concerns, please get in touch with our Project Delivery team on 5772 0333.