Kyogle's failing bridges could become an emergency
RURAL Fire Service Northern Rivers and Kyogle Council officials are concerned closed and load-limited bridges in the area could hinder responses to emergencies.
About 70 timber bridges in the area are more than 60-years old and urgently need maintenance or replacement.
Council however has indicated it can't fund immediate repairs.
RFS Northern Rivers Superintendent Brett Kelly said the situation is a pressing issue.
"From our perspective, it's a concern. There will be access issues," he said.
"It could affect police, fire and rescue and others trying to respond to a fire or other emergency.
"There's contingency plans we need to make."
The state of the bridges is worrying those who rely on them too. Old Bonalbo resident Terry Moody has started a Facebook page to help lobby for funds to repair the brides, noting that at the current rate of funding it would take another 25 years to fix the bridges currently in need of replacement or repair.
"During this time more bridges will have load limits applied," the page notes.
Bridges on Dyraaba, Hayes, Lions Rd, McClelland and Sawpit Creek road are currently unusable while many others have weight limits varying from five to 25 tonne.
Supt Kelly said the RFS may have to empty its Category 1 tankers before crossing load-limited bridges, or use less-capable vehicles to attend emergencies.
While access to some areas is a concern, Supt Kelly said RFS personnel will get to emergencies but conceded response times could be an issue.
"If there was a serious fire in one of these areas we would find a way to get there," he said.
"If I needed to, I'd hire out a bulldozer and build you a way to get to that fire, whether it's a temporary bridge or whatever."
The council is urging the Federal Government to allocate more grant money for repairs under its Bridges Renewal Program, citing safety concerns and loss of income for residents.
Page MP Kevin Hogan said he was aware of the council's desperate need for funding and said the government's program would prioritise the Kyogle LGA, which has more than 200 bridges.