Marnie Parncutt and children Haley, 11 (left), and Jade, 8, are escorted across the bridge by Paul Witchard.
Marnie Parncutt and children Haley, 11 (left), and Jade, 8, are escorted across the bridge by Paul Witchard.

Pug soil just swallows up work on new bridges

By ZOE SATHERLEY

ONE minute the newly-built approach to Teven Road's twin bridges was there ? the next, the land wobbled like jelly, cracked and swallowed up more than 1500 cubic metres of soil.

The whole six-metre-wide embankment subsided into the pug, said an eyewitness.

It happened at midday. The road was still closed at 3.30pm when anxious mother Marnie Parncutt, of Ballina, arrived to collect her children Jade, 8, and Haley, 11, from Teven-Tintenbar Public School, just beyond the collapsed section of roadway.

By then the tide was coming in and Emigrant Creek had flooded over the collapsed embankment.

Ms Parncutt was escorted by construction workers over the stable part of the roadway and bridge to the school, to collect her nervous children.

A Ballina Council construction team has spent the past six weeks forming four massive earth 'pads' at the ends of the twin bridges, just off the Pacific Highway.

The pads form part of the widening and raising of the roadway to prepare for the replacement of the old timber bridges with new concrete ones.

It was one of these pads that literally sank just after the workmen knocked off for lunch.

Many at the site yesterday raised questions about what the calamity might mean to the proposed multi-million-dollar Ballina bypass.

The route for the bypass needs to be constructed over the same pug soils.

Ballina Shire Council civil services group manager John Truman would only say the slip was caused by the 'failure of the surcharge for the embankment construction' of the new bridge.

The council would seek expert advice on the problem and review its construction technique as necessary.



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