Thursday, March 03, 2016

Bridge with only one lane

from the Addie:

Peter Moore: Narrow bridge reminds of when manners matteredMarch 3, 2016 12:00am  Peter MooreGeelong AdvertiserTraffic must wait its turn on the single-lane Queens Park bridge.



IN the words immortalised by Monty Python’s John Cleese, “And now for something completely different” — Queens Park Bridge.
I normally reserve this column for weighty reviews on politics, with particular reference and focus on the local variety. Given the hiatus the commission of inquiry is imposing on our local representatives, I thought I might leave any further discussion of the vagaries of local government until something happens or is actually said.
Last Saturday I was returning home from my weekly game of golf and came home via the Queens Park Bridge. Reaching home, Sue showed me a picture of what had happened earlier in the day on said bridge.
Apparently just after 11am a late model Subaru struck a railing and flipped onto its roof on the heritage-listed single lane bridge. Spectacular, slightly bizarre but fortunately a non-fatal incident. The next day, I looked the bridge over and there were no signs at all of the previous day’s crash, with the 1930s structure damage-free.
All well, but what it did do was cause me to reflect on just what a strange thing the bridge is by managing to retain its single lane status in this day and age.
When road rage reporting is almost a daily feature of our lives and driving behaviour and inconsiderate, boorish road manners a daily occurrence, the Queens Park Bridge stands alone as a beacon of all that used to be. A time when good manners were the norm and not a rather grudgingly conceded second thought.
The bridge can and only does work because drivers are prepared to do the right thing. Let a few cars through, be patient and wait for the appropriate moment to cross.
Over the 20-odd years I’ve been in Geelong, I have used it on many, many occasions and can barely think of examples of someone blatantly “not playing the game”.
For those with a historic bent, Wikipedia gives us this information:
“The single-lane Queens Bridge carries Queens Park Rd, which links Highton and Newtown. The location was originally the site of a punt, with a wooden cattle crossing being provided in 1861. Those crossing the bridge were charged a toll. The bridge collapsed in the 1870 flood, and a new wooden bridge opened in 1872. The toll ended 1877. The bridge was wrecked by the 1909 flood, but was rebuilt. The current one-lane steel bridge was opened in 1930. A water main and footpath were added on one side in 1963, and the height and deck have been modified in later years.”
Sue, my wife, a Geelong girl, tells me that the reasons given in her younger years for the bridge remaining a single lane was that the residents of Highton were reluctant to have it widened because they were worried it might make the suburb too accessible and encourage drivers from other suburbs to use it as a shortcut or thoroughfare. Shock, horror.
Whether apocryphal or not, it does have a certain charm to the thought and reminds me of another similar type story about the Queenscliffe borough.
I’ve always been told that the reason they avoided amalgamation was that there were many powerful politicians and powerbrokers with holiday homes in the little township and quite simply they wanted to stay outside of the new super council and control their own destiny.
The fact that Queenscliff is the smallest local government area in the universe and can’t even provide the most basic services without contracting them out to CoGG was, and is still, apparently irrelevant.
But I digress.
So, yes, I like the old the heritage-listed, single lane Queens Park Bridge. It is an anachronism but having said that it is also gives us more than a passing nod to times long gone.
It speaks of those decades when life was at a more gentle and more tolerable pace. It speaks of less rushed lives and consideration for others. In fact good old fashioned road etiquette.
To my regular readers, I’m stopping taking those “nice” pills the Doc prescribed. Immediately.
Comments7


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I love this bridge! It gives me the opportunity to thank a driver for allowing me to proceed. Road courtesy at its best. A dying art!!!
Galah
I hope it can stay as it is but the old girl needs a bit of support by way of another access point. I think our engineers and planners need look at another river crossing as we are starting to get serious bottlenecks at peak hours on all three local arterials ( Moorabool St, Shannon Ave and Queens Park). It was once mooted that West Fyans St could be extended across the river to link with Barwon Blvd and on to North Valley Rd, which would give another access route to Highton, the ring road south bound, Wandana Heights and Waurn Ponds. An idea worth investigating in my opinion.
Kenny
The population of Highton has grown by 19,000 since it was built (set to increase by over a thousand in the next 24 months), its not built to current safety codes and standards (hence why it cant be duplicated). Ive lived in the Queens Park area for 33 years. It doesn't cut the mustard anymore. Its time for the old bridge to go.
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@Kenny Nonsense. 
Ken
No. Leave it just the way it is.
Steve
This one lane bridge is ridiculous. It should have been replaced years ago!

@Steve No it shouldn't

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