Cuttagee Bridge is located on the Tathra to Bermagui Road (MR272) and crosses the Cuttagee Lake entrance area at the northern end of Cuttagee Beach. It is a crucial road link between Barragga and Bermagui providing access to the Sapphire Coast.
The road also provides an important bitumen sealed alternative access to the Princes Highway in this region, from Tilba (or Cobargo) in the north, to Tathra, Bega and further south to Merimbula and Pambula via Sapphire Coast Drive and Arthur Kaine Drive. It provides emergency services access to an increasing residential rural population.
MR272 also forms an integral part of the tourist facility of this coastal shire and is marked as a Tourist Route. It provides access to the popular Mimosa Rocks National Park, including the four camp sites at Aragunnu, Picnic Point, Middle Lake and Gillards Beach. As summer tourists swell the local population and the increased fire risk during warmer months, MR272 is an essential and reliable access to these areas.
Cuttagee Bridge was designed by the NSW Public Works Department in 1892 and was one of many that used the ‘simple beam’ structural system, and was originally built from native Australian hardwoods. The bridge was extended twice in response to shifting sands and suffered major flood damage in 1934 and again in 1974, so has been rebuilt and heavily modified from its original design.
Today the bridge is a single lane, 10 span bridge of approximately 110 metres, with timber deck running boards and cross planks. The southern shorter six spans are of traditional timber log girder construction supported by six steel and timber piers comprising a combination of driven timber and steel piles. The northern longer four spans are of steel girder construction supported by three concrete piers with concrete piles.
Cuttagee Bridge is nearing the end of its functional life and is now subject to weight restrictions due to the deteriorating condition of its ageing timbers. It is in danger of a potentially catastrophic structural failure unless remedial action is taken. Council is now in a position where it needs to make difficult decisions about how to manage this bridge into the future.
Council has a duty to ensure the assets it provides and manages are safe, secure and fit for purpose. This includes Cuttagee Bridge, which is situated on a regional road that Council manages on behalf of the NSW Government . Any decisions about the future of Cuttagee Bridge will need to balance the upfront and ongoing cost and funding sources against a number of competing principles such as risk and safety, durability, economics, heritage and tourism values, and environmental issues.
With the importance of the road and bridge for the community, Council is establishing a Community Advisory Group to represent the views of the community and provide advice to Council.
The Advisory Group will comprise up to 13 interested community members, representing different interest groups, organisations and perspectives. An Expression of Interest process will be run to determine membership.
The selection panel for the Community Advisory Group will comprise of the Director of Community, Environment and Planning, the Acting Director of Asset and Operations, and an independent Bega Valley community member.
The following criteria will be considered as part of the selection process for the Advisory Group.
The group will provide advice and assistance to Council including reviewing the expert heritage, environmental and engineering advice. The recommendations of the group will be presented to Council at key decision points, along with technical reports, independent expert advice and any other relevant material.
Acting Director Assets and Operations
Phone: (02) 6499 2119
Council has some funding available in the 2021/22 budget to undertake investigation work to develop the project to a stage in which Council can advocate to both the state and federal governments for funding for its renewal.
It is important to note that Council does not currently have an identified funding source to renew Cuttagee Bridge at this time.
This project is connect to Council's Community Strategic Plan through Outcome 5: Connected Communities:
Goal 10: We have a network of good quality roads, footpaths and cycleways connecting communities throughout the Shire and beyond