The Vaughan – Tarilta Road Bridge

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 This post illustrates one of the unexpected drawbacks of rural living. The Vaughan – Tarilta Bridge crosses the Loddon River providing access for a small number of Vaughan residents to the main sealed road which connects Vaughan to nearby Fryers Town, Guildford and Castlemaine.

The bridge was closed in September 2012 after it fell into disrepair thus isolating residents from reliable access to the main road. The residents rely on a ford across the Loddon River used by emergency vehicles. This works only whilst the Loddon is dry. The residents’ other option is to drive along a gravel road to the main road via the tiny settlement of Tarilta. The gravel road passes through a farm property complete with free ranging geese and cows.

Residents were understandably upset when earlier this year, the Mt. Alexander Shire Council announced the kerbside waste and recycling collection services were being withdrawn because the bridge was impassable. The council expected the affected residents to take their waste to the transfer stations at Castlemaine or Maldon where a fee is charged or engage a private waste contractor. There was no mention of a reduction in the council rates payable by the residents – Grrrr!

The local press has documented the ongoing saga of attempts by council and local politicians to find funding so the Vaughan – Tarilta Bridge can be rebuilt.

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Some one is making a point through this informal art installation about the ongoing closure of the bridge.

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5 Responses

  1. Fair enough if the tip truck can’t make it over the bridge but REDUCE THE RATES! It’s not like a few people on the other side of the bridge are going to make much of a dent in the councils coffers now is it?! You can’t charge someone for something that you aren’t giving them

    • Hi Fran, Yes it is especially galling given the rates notice has a separate waste collection charge so the fee for waste collection isn’t buried in the general rates charge. I don’t know if the affected residents were able to get the decision reversed.

      The trouble is if the council fails to provide this service or it is too expensive to take wast to the transfer station, (the tip to you and me), residents may choose to dump their rubbish in the bush – not a good solution.

      • I think that they should dump their rubbish on the council front doorstep 😉

  2. This post reminds me so much of our area. Many old bridges or weather-wreaked bridges have isolated folks in many parts of Oklahoma. The cost of new bridges and by-passes is tremendous. And we don’t often think of the domino effect it all has on commerce and community. Hopefully, this event will prompt a shift to community working together and raise ideas on how the cost of rebuilding can be achieved.

    • Thanks Lori, I think the situation with the Vaughan – Tarilta bridge is being used by the media as a prime example of the challenges faced by rural councils to maintain or replace the many bridges within their municipalities. Their smaller rates base compared with cities means they often depend on state and federal grants to build new bridges.
      As you have said, the isolation caused by bridge closures can have wide reaching impacts on small communities. One of the concerns for Vaughan residents is the increased risk they face if there should be a bush fire threatening the township.

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