Letters to the Editor: January 6

MATTER OF WEIGHT: The new bridge over Foreshore Drive at Corlette opened on December 23 with a strict three tonne limit. Picture: Port Stephens Council
MATTER OF WEIGHT: The new bridge over Foreshore Drive at Corlette opened on December 23 with a strict three tonne limit. Picture: Port Stephens Council

Corlette bridge load limit

I note with interest the article in last week's edition regarding the "strict" load limit of 3 tonnes on the Foreshore Drive bridge, which was recently opened to traffic. This load limit was initially brought to my attention by a concerned neighbour who said he could not take his large SUV with boat in tow over the bridge because of the imposed limit.

I have been advised that the bridge was designed in accordance with the Australian/New Zealand bridge code AS 5100.1:2017, which specifies, inter alia, a futuristic design vehicle load of about 160 tonnes (currently B-Double vehicles are limited to about 70 tonnes).

However, the bridge code also states that the client may specify a design load other than the 160 tonnes. I understand the Corlette bridge was designed to a previous design standard of 44 tonnes, which I consider is appropriate for Foreshore Drive.

I have just on 50 years of experience in bridge design and have engineered over 1000 bridges throughout Australia and overseas. In my time I have never seen a load limit placed on a bridge at an opening and am curious as to why a limit at all has been placed on the structure, let alone such a very low limit.

Peter Hensley, Corlette

COVID testing sites

I am disgusted by the services (or more correctly, lack of) regarding the COVID drive-through testing clinics in the Bay. Both the Tomaree sports complex and Anna Bay centres were closed during Christmas and New Year. To get a test I would have had to drive to Newcastle as Raymond Terrace centres were closed as well.

The way I was feeling with a temperature and generally unable to concentrate, the drive to Newcastle would have been quite dangerous for myself and other road users. Do the people in charge think that COVID doesn't strike during public holidays?

The Tomaree collection centre was open Monday (and the staff there could not be kinder) but I, and many others I suspect, needed it earlier, especially now with the Bay teeming with tourists. I am a volunteer with a local emergency organisation and worked on Christmas Day and many of my colleagues worked throughout the public holiday period.

Krystyna Winslow, Salamander Bay

Site clean up needed

In response to Peter Clough's comments in last week's Examiner (Latters, "Airport could become a feature"), I think as a start in welcoming our domestic and international travellers to Newcastle Airport, Port Stephens Council together with the state government should do something to remove the old rundown Williamtown Public school buildings at the intersection of Tomago Road and Nelson Bay Road. How long has the school been closed for now? And nothing has been done for years to remove the severely vandalised classrooms. It is a total eyesore and does nothing to make our area inviting to tourists.

Natalie Budden, Salamander Bay

Accident waiting to happen

The pedestrian crossing at Salamander shopping centre near the Kmart loading dock on Town Centre Circuit is an accident waiting to happen. Drivers speed through it, don't watch for pedestrians and ignore the signs. Many I have noticed are busy on their mobile phones.

I always stop and look before crossing but I have seen pedestrians, including children on scooters and the elderly, mums and dads with babies in prams and strollers, just step out without looking. And vision is restricted slightly on the shopping centre side by bushes, which I believe should be trimmed or removed entirely.

One solution might be the installation of a flashing pedestrian crossing sign like we have near schools and restricted speed limits to 10kph.

Amanda Sutherland, Anna Bay