Waiting to be first across the new Oliver Avenue bridge are local residents Frank Tooley (left) and Owen Wicks.
Waiting to be first across the new Oliver Avenue bridge are local residents Frank Tooley (left) and Owen Wicks. Jay Cronan

Traffic flows again over bridge

YOU have to keep a sharp eye out for queue jumpers if you want to be first over a new bridge.

Oliver Avenue residents Owen Wicks and Frank Tooley, and Roy and Betty Patch, yesterday lined up for about half an hour, waiting in their cars for the chance to be first across the bridge in their street spanning the chasm created by rushing floodwaters in Goonellabah last May.

It was a tense few minutes. At one point a car parked in front of the waiting convoy and appeared ready to make its own bid for line honours, but it turned out it was there to pick up someone and it soon left.

One of Lismore’s taxis was next to have a go at the title.

As the last of the work vehicles and machines were removed, the Toyota Prius taxi turned up and was about to drive on to the still damp tar and gravel when it was ordered aside – apparently because the mobile office used by workers was still parked on the other side.

After one more close shave with a Lismore City Council ute, Mr Wicks and Mr Tooley became the first to roll sedately over the unnamed bridge, with Mr and Mrs Patch following closely behind them.

It’s not the sort of thing any of them would usually do.

“Roy’s son works there,” Mr Wicks said. “He (Mr Patch) rang me about 10 minutes ago, so we decided to see what was happening.”

It’s lucky they weren’t too attached to the idea of being over first, because it appeared they missed that chance by several hours.

A woman in a 4WD took accidental line honours yesterday by driving sedately past crews and on to the bridge. It was only after she drove over barriers intended to keep traffic out that she stopped with a query, “Is this supposed to be closed?”

The bridge was finished on budget – although about 10 days late because of rain. There had been hopes it would open on Friday, but the moment was delayed for want of four hours of continuous sunshine.



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