Historic bridge doomed

Historic bridge doomed

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Byford resident Peter Godden is disappointed the Millbrace Bridge will be demolished. Photograph — Kelly Pilgrim-Byrne.
Byford resident Peter Godden is disappointed the Millbrace Bridge will be demolished. Photograph — Kelly Pilgrim-Byrne.

The soon to be demolished Millbrace Bridge could have been saved if it had been restored earlier according to Byford resident Peter Godden.

The bridge at the end of Millbrace Glen in Byford has a long history in the area, having been built prior to 1940 and used to transport materials from the Byford state brickworks.

It had previously been listed on the council’s heritage inventory management as a category three asset.

Despite this the bridge fell into disrepair and in July 2013 the Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale council voted to demolish it rather than pay about $500,000 to have it repaired.

In 2010 the bridge restoration was estimated at $90,000.

Mr Godden received a letter informing him the demolition would take place this week.

“I know it’s too late to save it now but if it had just been taken care of originally it could have been saved and the shire would have been able to use it as a feature for the area,” he said.

“They had the opportunity to repair it but instead they’ve chosen to demolish it by neglect, which is sad because it’s part of Byford’s heritage.”

He said until it was closed off the bridge had also been used by people who walked through the area and who were now forced to navigate their way across a drainage ditch.

Shire president John Erren said while the shire was in the final stages of obtaining demolition approvals there was still no date set for its removal.

He said it was being demolished due to safety concerns, the cost of repair and loss of heritage value due to the replacement of more than 50 per cent of the structure.

“At least 50 per cent of the timber had reached the end of its expected life as a result of age, termite damage, moisture and rot,” he said.

Mr Erren said the demolition process had taken almost three years because it was required to comply with the State Government’s State Cultural Heritage Policy, which was a lengthy process.

He said work on an interpretive shelter for the bridge was placed on hold until the shire received confirmation from the Heritage Council of WA that it could be demolished.