Morpeth Bridge closed for work on same weekend as Tocal Field Days

Morpeth Bridge
Morpeth Bridge

Tocal Field Days organisers were astounded after finding out Roads and Maritime Services scheduled closures at Morpeth Bridge on the same weekend as the event.

The bridge will shut from 6am on May 5 until 6pm on May 8. Tocal Field Days runs from May 5 to 7.

Tocal Field Days manager Wendy Franklin said RMS did not consult with event organisers about the closure.

She said she found out about the works through community members.

Ms Franklin contacted RMS about moving the bridge work dates but the request was rejected.

“They’ve refused to change it for what is going to be a really large event,” she said. “It’s mind-boggling.”

About 20,000 attendees are expected at Tocal during Field Days.

Ms Franklin said the closure shouldn’t impact access to the event as the bridge was only a minor route. She said the main roads most people would use were all still open.

But she said she couldn’t believe there was no consultation or consideration of the event. “We’re at a loss to explain it,” she said.

Morpeth businesses also expect to take a hit from the bridge closure.

Savannah on Swan barista Melanie Bailey said the bridge closures had affected business in the past.

She said she expected people would bypass Morpeth while the bridge was closed.

“It will cut down business but we’re powerless to do anything about it,” she said.

The situation won’t be so dire for Le Beau Cafe, which will be closed for renovations. Le Beau Cafe owner Nadine Monaghan said the timing worked out well for her business, but not for others. “I would be annoyed if I was open,” she said.

The May bridge closure is the third and final as part of major upgrades of the structure.

An RMS spokesperson said business owners had been included in discussions about closure dates, to reduce an impact on customers and motorists. 

“No significant traffic impact is expected as motorists will be detoured via Harry Boyle Bridge at Pitnacree, which adds about seven minutes to the journey.”