Bushfire-affected Wytaliba community to get new bridge by January after Glen Innes Severn council signs off on tender

New bridge: The bushfire-affected community of Wytaliba is set to get a new bridge. Photo: Andrew Messenger

New bridge: The bushfire-affected community of Wytaliba is set to get a new bridge. Photo: Andrew Messenger

The tiny community of Wytaliba is set to get a new bridge to replace a structure wrecked in last year's horror bushfires.

The Old Grafton Road bridge over the Mann River will be replaced at a cost of $1,365,338.21 after Glen Innes Severn councillors unanimously approved of a tender for the job.

The small bushfire-affected community was repeatedly cut off after a temporary ford washed out in February, hindering clean-up efforts.

Cr Steve Toms insisted on the bridge being built to a better standard than the previous one, saying the old bridge was regularly flooded.

"Given climate change, given how quickly and easily that bridge did go under I think it's important if we're building a new bridge that we're building one that's relatively flood-free," he said.

Director of Infrastructure Services Keith Appleby told him government had let him know they were willing to subsidise building to a standard that would sustain a one-in-fifty-year flood.

Ironically, that would make the new bridge very similar to an earlier structure that was destroyed in about 1948, he said.

The winning tender was submitted by a company from out of town, raising the ire of some councillors that local business missed out on the job. Cr Andrew Parsons, who moved the motion to approve the tender, said the council supports backing local business "wherever possible" but said they also have to follow procedural guidelines.

Deputy Mayor Dianne Newman said it was "disappointing" a local business didn't tender for the job.

"I've made decisions on that before, I have to be led by that. I'd just like to ask council please be mindful of our businesses," she said.

According to the report issued to councillors, the winning firm could do the job by January 31 next year.

CUT OFF: Wytaliba was repeatedly cut off by floodwaters. Mayor Carol Sparks helped resupply the community with food and water. Photo: Tony Grant

CUT OFF: Wytaliba was repeatedly cut off by floodwaters. Mayor Carol Sparks helped resupply the community with food and water. Photo: Tony Grant

Report author Sam Price, the Glen Innes Manager of Infrastructure Delivery, said the tender stood out because of their "very low price, extensive experience in the construction of very similar projects and the quality of feedback provided by the referees".

The upgrade will be funded by Transport for New South Wales under the Essential Public Asset Reconstruction Agreement.

The budget leaves room for a spend of $601,643.72 on the construction of approaches to the crossing.

Wytaliba was resupplied food and basic supplies by a flying fox installed with the help of an army drone at one point in February.

A series of quick-fix fords installed by Glen Innes Severn Council washed out on no less than six occasions, leaving the isolated community out of touch from help for weeks.