NEW DELAYS: Work to build a new bridge over a storm-damaged section of Oliver Avenue, Goonellabah, came to a sudden standstill this week after workers cut a phone cable.
NEW DELAYS: Work to build a new bridge over a storm-damaged section of Oliver Avenue, Goonellabah, came to a sudden standstill this week after workers cut a phone cable. David Nielsen

Efforts come unplugged

THEY tried so hard, but the best of intentions, expert advice, state-of-the-art equipment and engineering changes couldn't protect the phone services of about 400 homes and businesses from Lismore City Council's efforts to fix Oliver Avenue.

The council's infrastructure services executive director, Garry Hemsworth, said yesterday work a on new bridge spanning the section of Goonellabah road washed out in the May storms had a roaring start on Tuesday.

But within hours, workers hit a major snag when they accidentally cut a phone cable servicing hundreds of homes and businesses, including the Workers Sports Club.

Mr Hemsworth said workers had gone to great lengths to avoid the phone line, consulting maps, bringing in Telstra experts and specialised equipment to find the lines, which were buried 13 metres underground; and even putting one of the bridge's support columns on an angle to avoid the line. Ironically, it was the work to install the angled column that severed the line.

“If it had just gone straight down it would have missed it,” Mr Hemsworth conceded.

He blamed the equipment used to find the lines for the error, saying it highlighted the difficulty of detecting something buried 13 metres deep. Phone services were expected to be reconnected yesterday afternoon.

But, phone cables aside, Mr Hemsworth said work was progressing well. The council's bridge crews had agreed to give up their usual January break and the bridge was expected to be finished in February.



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