Margaret Long at the historic rail footbridge, which will be tweaked to comply with modern safety laws.
Margaret Long at the historic rail footbridge, which will be tweaked to comply with modern safety laws. Philippe Coquerand

Once restored, heritage footbridge to look a bit different

THE historic rail footbridge at the Rattler station will look a little different once its $175,000 restoration is completed.

Although the bridge is being rebuilt "like-for-like” as heritage laws require, Gympie Regional councillors were told yesterday a few tweaks were needed to comply with modern safety rules.

It would still be made from timber, though.

"There will be some modification but it will be rebuilt stick by stick,” council staff said at yesterday's workshop.

To assist with this work a heritage architect is being employed.

Gympie old footbridge - Garry Davison
Garry Davison at the closed-off bridge. Troy Jegers

Cr Bob Fredman asked if there was any room to restore the bridge in such a way as to ensure it was not a financial risk.

"We've got to maintain this thing so it's very important it's practical,” he said.

"Otherwise we'll be back there in 10 years time replacing it.”

The bridge has previously been declared unsafe by Transport and Main Roads.

Railway footbridge needs to be repaired
The footbridge when it was still open to the public. Craig Warhurst

Public access has been cut off for more than six years and TMR recommended it be pulled down.

However, its place on the heritage register made this impossible.

Instead, the council spent $10,000 shoring it up before the returned Rattler's first run.

Staff said this included adding a steel girder to "ensure the bridge didn't fall on the train when it went under”.

The council has asked for the $175,000 bill to bring the bridge back from the dead to fall at the feet of the State Government as part of its latest Works for Queensland funding commitment.