From the Mayor's Desk
May marks the start of a very significant project for the council and the Mount Isa community as a whole - the replacement of the Isa Street bridge.
The bridge is almost 90 years old, and not much structural-improvement work has been done to it in that time, so its condition was deteriorating, and it was in dire need of major work.
Previous councils have recognised the need to upgrade or replace the bridge, however our council has been able to make this project a reality.
Work to demolish the existing bridge started recently, which will be followed by earthworks to raise the embankments on either side of the Leichhardt River and make the approaches to the bridge less steep.
After this, a contractor will build the replacement bridge, which will be 900mm higher and significantly wider than the existing structure.
The traffic lights on the intersection of Fourth Avenue and Isa Street will also be replaced with a roundabout, which will have three refuge pedestrian crossings.
There is also a new, temporary concrete footpath installed across the Leichhardt riverbed, so that pedestrians and cyclists can get to and from Fourth Avenue from Isa Street - this is particularly important for students of Spinifex State High School Junior Campus.
All up, we expect that section of Isa Street to be closed until about November this year.
This project will cost about $7.5 million, and 80 per cent of the work involved will be carried out by local contractors.
This new bridge will be safer, stronger, have better flood immunity, and be able to withstand much heavier vehicles.
After many decades of almost annual, significant flooding events that also involve fast-moving debris, the concrete support structures of the Isa Street Bridge have for some time been suffering from "cancer", further deteriorating their condition in the process.
While we appreciate and understand that the closure of that section of Isa Street until about November will inconvenience local motorists and tourists, this bridge upgrade and replacement will significantly improve drivers' safety and our local amenity once it has been completed - and you cannot put a price on that.
We look forward to seeing the end result towards the end of the year.