Hampden Bridge gone to rack and ruin

THE decision to tear down Hampden Bridge has divided public opinion and burnt many figurative bridges.

But while a large number of people are pleased to see the back of the ageing structure, builder Leigh Campbell said he was disappointed his proposal to save the bridge was not properly considered.

He had created sketches and a plan to put a roof over the bridge that could stop ongoing maintenance costs which was a main deciding factor for councillors.

"I just want to say it is very disappointing council didn't give me the opportunity to present my proposal because it was practical and commonsense," he said.

There was also concern from Riverina Greens convenor Kevin Poynter who questions why federal and state funding was not looked into.

"It's disappointing that such a large part of our history gone to rack and ruin," he said.

"Another thing that was never investigated is what you actually do with the bridge - you could have used it for markets, a whole range of things."

The sentimental connection to the city's heritage was another issue that has been raised by Dr Charles Oliver whose great grandfather was one of the original engineers.

"My dad would've been a bit sad, but still pragmatic about the costs," he said.

But the history of the structure will not be lost due to it coming down, according to John Winterbottom, who is the secretary of the Wagga and District Historical Society.

"I think it should be photographed; we already hold huge quantities of photos of that bridge," he said.

"We have plans, we have an enormous amount of correspondence and a lot of stories that go with the bridge."

That's enough to remember it for Laurie Knight, who has lived in Wagga since 1971 and says the bridge no longer serves a purpose, costing ratepayers unnecessary money.

"The councillors made the right decision in my opinion," he said.

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