IT MIGHT have taken weeks of hard labour to build a century ago, but it was a lazy Sunday afternoon's work to tear it down.
The timber railway bridge over Woodlawn St in North Lismore was demolished yesterday in just a few hours after it was deemed a hazard earlier this year by the NSW Department of Transport.
Opened in 1896, the Wood
lawn St bridge gradually fell into disrepair following the closure of the Murwillumbah to Casino rail line in 2004, until its rotting timbers apparently posed a threat to passing motorists and pedestrians.
It's quite hard to believe just eight years ago the failing bridge had supported trains many times its weight.
But that was another era.
Yesterday it was an excavator with a claw, not a passing train that was the star of the show, while men in safety gear watched on and dump trucks waited to cart the timber away.
The recycled timber will be available for sale at Richmond Sand and Gravel Landscaping Supplies in Elliott Rd, South Lismore.
The bridge is the first of two rotting railway bridges scheduled for destruction by the Transport Department, the other one the low clearance bridge at Binna Burra on Bangalow Road.
Work to remove the latter bridge commenced yesterday but will take until next Friday due to heavier traffic along Bangalow Rd.
"Transport for New South Wales (TfNSW) is undertaking works at Woodlawn Road Lismore and Lismore Bangalow Road Binna Burra, as part of the NSW Government's rail infrastructure program across the Country Regional Network.
"This work involves removing the two underbridges," a spokesman said.
"Over time, the bridges have sustained damage, particularly the Binna Burra underbridge which currently has low clearance for heavy vehicles. Removal of the bridges will ensure the access roads that pass under these bridges remain safe for use."
Despite calls for the reinstatement of rail services on the track, or the $75.5 million rail trail option supported by the NSW Government, no-one appeared to be missing the old bridge last week. It would have needed a complete reconstruction to even accommodate trains in the future.
It was also not essential to the viability of a rail trail for cyclists and pedestrians, according to Northern Rivers Rail Trail public liaison officer Marie Lawton.