No doubt it had to go

THE Hampden Bridge simply had to go. 

On Monday night, Wagga City Council accepted a tender for the demolition of the bridge, bringing to an end years of debate and discussion as to what could be done with the failing structure.

In February 2009, The Daily Advertiser carried a lead story declaring "Hampden Bridge is falling down" after revelations that work to stabilise the bridge had actually created more stresses on some of the structure's already weakened sections.

While the city council at the time vowed and declared the bridge was not in a state of collapse, it was obvious to most that the deterioration was so significant that the options facing the council were limited either a very expensive restoration program and equally significant ongoing maintenance, or demolition.

Even with that information, councillors continued to delay action citing that a decision on its future would only be made as part of the Riverside precinct masterplan.

In the special report to council presented in 2009, engineers warned that if work was delayed, sections of the bridge could collapse in the following two years.

Fortunately that hasn't happened - but the passing of time between that report and the final decision meant there really was only one course of action. There will be some people who are disappointed with the reality that the bridge will be removed.

While the Hampden Bridge was a grand structure in its day, years of neglect has taken its toll.

We would all like to preserve our rich history and that includes things like bridges and buildings.

But at some point there must also be an economic measure placed against the preservation of such things.

Local government bodies across the nation are struggling to meet the growing demands of residents as state and federal governments continue to cost shift as their budgets are squeezed.

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