At the end of September Regional Council of Goyder Councilors and key staff including David Stephenson (CEO) met to do an onsite inspection of what they could do to solve the problem of Hampden Bridge not being up to standard for larger heavy vehicles. The bridge located on the edge of the Hampden Township was built to allow traffic to cross the railway cutting and continue the flow of the Julia Road. In recent years the road has been bituminised and is now a reasonably busy road servicing the local community. The bridge currently has a 10 ton limit on it, and as freight trucks, mainly grain carting in this area, have grown in size and carrying capacity, they exceed the limit of this single lane bridge. The current solution has been to bypass the bridge and route heavy vehicles through the main street of Hampden, and using Nash Road to bring the trucks back to the Julia Road. Normal vehicles have still been able to use the bridge.
Farmers would like to have a direct route to the Curio Highway, the shortest route allowing them to deliver to the Eudunda Silos or further South to Roseworthy and Port Adelaide.
Options being looked at have been to rebuild the bridge to specifications high enough for B-Doubles have an estimated price tag of over a Million dollars or to remove the bridge, fill in the cutting and prepare a road over the top for about half the price.
Sentiment for the bridge varies, from transport providers wanting quick and speedy access, especially during the harvest season, through to locals considering it to be of historic value. This area has also become important for tourism. The South Australian Recreation Trails Inc (SARTI) group who developed the Lavender Federation Trail and the Lavender Cycling Trail (M2C) and the Eudunda Community, Business and Tourism Committee (ECBAT) have requested that the Council retain access under the bridge for cyclists, walkers and horse riders to access from the Eudunda to Hampden Rail Line to the area once being the busy Hampden Railway Station, where there are future plans afoot for trail and community use of this historic area. Their first preference being to retain the bridge, and second preference is to have a pipe tunnel underneath which would allow access to both sides along the existing railway line, this is quite a common solution on various trails.
By pure chance SARTI members for the Lavender Federation Trail and Lavender Cycling Trail had members investigating the possible use of the Eudunda Hampden Railway Line as a Horse Trail, and were able to talk with Councilors and staff about the trail and thier wishes to have access from the trail to the Hampden Railway Station area for thier Multiuse Trail. Plans are also in process to develop many more loop trails in the region, with many of these based on good access to the Eudunda to Hampden Railway line as a safe link.
Cycling and Walking have become growth areas of tourism and Interstate has shown a phenomenal increase in the use of Rail Trails. It is hoped that locally we do not ruin the opportunity to capitalize on this great assett for our district, and look forward to Council’s support.