THE City of Greater Bendigo has conceded it should have communicated better with Axedale residents when a bridge restoration project went beyond its original deadline.
Residents in the Sugarloaf Road, Pinpandor Road and Obriens Lane areas were left frustrated at a lack of communication combined with a detour adding extra distances to their journeys into the town.
The project to restore the Sugarloaf Road bridge in Axedale began earlier in the year at a cost of $750,000.
Council manager of engineering Brett Martini said the original timeframe for the completion of the project was the end of July or early August.
He said the contractor requested an extension of time on the project it became clear that more timber would need to be replaced than first anticipated.
"Part of the challenge with old timber bridges is that we did a lot of investigation before but once we started taking timbers off, it exposed more clearly what work was needed," Mr Martini said.
"Additional timber needed to be replaced. The delay has been the amount of work required has increased since works have started."
Following negotiations, council and the contractor agreed for the bridge to be re-opened to traffic in the first week of October.
"After this point there will still be some minor works required under traffic control with potentially only minor interruptions to traffic," he said.
"(The bridge project) is not finished yet. Certainly, we would acknowledge that we should have provided information back to residents when the project went beyond its original deadline.
"We recognise it has been a frustration that we haven't got back to (the Axedale community) sooner."
Axedale resident Graham Collings said the lack of communication to residents was concerning.
"They must have known (the project would be delayed) by end of July, I don't know why wasn't it communicated," he said. "To be fair, (this week) the mayor did call me and gave me explanation."
Mr Collings said while the work is going on Axedale residents in the Sugarloaf Road, Pinpandor Road and Obriens Lane areas are forced to drive an extra two to three kilometres through a detour to get to the town.
"There would have to be 50 or 60 residents who live in the area," he said.
"Those that take kids to school or to the stop bus for secondary college have to (drive) another two to three kilometres twice a day.
"That costs extra in petrol and a lot can't afford that additional amount of money."
The extension of the $750,000 project is not expected to cost more than is allocated.
"As far as total costs go, we went through a public tender process and awarded the contract," Mr Martini said. "We recognised the challenges around timber bridges and the contract has a significant contingency amount in there for more work that was (possibly) needed."
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