As part of Regional Roads Victoria’s (RRV) regular bridge inspection program, some structural degradation has been identified on one of the bridge’s supporting piers.  

Built in 1952, the Shaw River bridge is a reinforced concrete I-beam bridge.  

RRV Chief Regional Roads Officer Paul Northey said safety was always the number one priority and temporary traffic arrangements would be put in place to ensure the bridge remained open to as many vehicles as possible.  

“A temporary load limit restriction of 42.5 tonnes is in place on the bridge – for the time being heavy vehicles that are over this limit will be detoured via the surrounding arterial road network.  

“Heavy vehicles travelling west will be diverted to the Hamilton-Port Fairy Road and then on to either Woolsthorpe-Heywood Road or Myamyn-MacArthur Road. 

“Those travelling east will be diverted to Tyrendarra-Ettrick Road then on to Woolsthorpe- Heywood Road to Hamilton-Port Fairy Road. 

“At the most, the detour will add an extra 30 minutes onto the journey. RRV will also be actively monitoring and inspecting these detour routes.”

The bridge is still open to vehicles under this limit - the Warrnambool-bound lane of the highway is temporarily closed, with contraflow arrangements in place on the Portland-bound lane.   

There are portable traffic lights with radar capacity to control traffic flow, and to ensure no one is waiting too long on a red light. 

“We know how important the highway is to the communities and industries that rely on it every day – and we’re aware of the impacts these temporary traffic arrangements will have,” Mr Northey said.  

“We are working as fast as we can to complete detailed structural and geotechnical assessments to guide our repair works on the bridge and will keep the community up to date every step of the way.” 

There are more than 700 bridges and major culverts in south western Victoria, all of which undergo regular inspections to ensure they are strong, safe and fit for purpose.