Bridge over the River Kangaroo

This very short story is about turning adversity (maintenance work on a bridge) into an economic sustainability opportunity.

Kangaroo Valley, New South Wales Australia, is dissected by the Kangaroo River. The only crossing is Hampden Bridge, a timber suspensions bridge, which forms a vital transport link. The Road Traffic Authority had planned to close the bridge four days a week for six months to undertake maintenance work. This would have put tourists off and destroyed the economy of the community which primarily relies on tourism.

By lobbying the authorities we managed to turn things around.

The bridge has significant heritage values being New South Wales’ last surviving suspension bridge of the 19th century. We now talk of RESTORATION not maintenance. We now talk of EXPEREINCE not a bridge. We are now INTEGRATING the concept by taking the original timbers and placing them on sandstone blocks to make benches and an amphitheatre for the COMMUNITY. We now run TOURS so visitors can learn about the engineering feat. We now have a SOCIAL NETWORKING SITE to link the community and visitors and record their sense of place. Perhaps most importantly we have managed to encourage the authorities to formerly acknowledge the heritage values of the bridge and seek State heritage listing. From an original situation of an old quaint bridge in need of repair we are establishing the foundation of a heritage asset that we collectively promote for the economic benefit of all stakeholders. Oh yes and also the authorities have agreed to do the restoration work in the late evenings over a few weeks. Have a look at the site and give me your feedback cjwarren@optusnet.com.au

Christopher Warren, ICRT Australia

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