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Holt-Bragg Bridge is an arch bridge that crosses Piles Creek at Somersby on the Central Coast of New South Wales, Australia as part of the Pacific Highway. It was opened on 30 June 2009 as a replacement for the previous bridge that collapsed two years earlier during severe weather. The bridge is named in honour of the five people who perished when the bridge collapsed.[1]

Holt-Bragg Bridge
Coordinates33°25′08″S 151°17′10″E / 33.419°S 151.286°E / -33.419; 151.286Coordinates: 33°25′08″S 151°17′10″E / 33.419°S 151.286°E / -33.419; 151.286
CarriesRoad traffic
CrossesPiles Creek
LocaleSomersby, Central Coast
Official nameHolt-Bragg Bridge
Named for
  • Adam Holt
  • Roslyn Bragg
  • Madison Holt-Bragg
  • Jasmine Holt-Bragg
  • Travis Bragg
Maintained byCentral Coast Council
DesignArch bridge
Opened30 June 2009[1]
Holt-Bragg Bridge is located in New South Wales
Holt-Bragg Bridge
Holt-Bragg Bridge
Location in New South Wales

The Pacific Highway is the main road link from Sydney to Brisbane and travels alongside the coast. The section from Cowan to Kariong, where the Holt-Bragg Bridge is, follows a scenic winding route, however, with the majority of traffic using the Pacific Motorway.[3]

The original bridge was built around 1930 when the new road linking Sydney to Newcastle was opened. It replaced the road via Wisemans Ferry that had become inadequate and meant that the majority of travel was made by railway or sea. It is located roughly on the original track from Hornsby to Kariong constructed by George Peat in 1854 that was closed in 1899.[3]


Bridge collapseEdit

On 8 June 2007 the Central Coast was battered by strong winds and torrential rain caused by an intense low pressure system a short distance out to sea.[4] The damage as a result of these storms resulted in them being declared a natural disaster. At approximately 4pm the road above Piles Creek gave way, leaving a 5-metre-wide (16 ft) by 10-metre-deep (33 ft) fissure.[5] Shortly afterwards, Adam Holt failed to stop and the car fell into the creek. Holt, along with his girlfriend Roslyn Bragg, their daughters Madison and Jasmine and nephew Travis Bragg were all killed.[6]

A coroner's inquest was established to discover the cause of deaths. It found that the failure of the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) and Gosford City Council to take action or initiative to fix problems with the bridge led to the collapse.[7][8]

The bridge was first identified as being in need of maintenance in 1984 when an RTA scientific officer had drawn attention to the corrosion of galvanised iron pipes used in the culvert. In 1995, responsibility for the road was transferred from the RTA to Gosford City Council; however, the problems with the section were not identified to council engineers. In April 2000 the bridge slumped, however nothing was done to alleviate the problem until 2002 when the council requested an estimation for a major reconstruction of the culvert.[9] In 2004, pavement repairs triggered a request by the council to ask for quotes for concrete lining of the culvert with tenders called. However, the information was not entered into the record system and no follow up action was taken.[6]

New bridgeEdit

The replacement bridge was opened on 30 June 2009. The bridge was designed and constructed by the RTA at a cost of A$1.9 million and responsibility for maintenance of the bridge is with the Central Coast Council (formerly the Gosford City Council) since its opening. The RTA named the bridge the Holt-Bragg Bridge in memory of the deceased. Two bronze commemorative plaques are located at either end of the bridge on Somersby sandstone.[1][2]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d Barnes, Denice (4 June 2009). "New bridge to open two years after highway collapse killed five". Central Coast Express Advocate. Retrieved 7 June 2009.
  2. ^ a b Mccarthy, Joanne (6 June 2009). "Bridge name to honour Pasha Bulker storm victims". The Newcastle Herald. Retrieved 7 June 2009.
  3. ^ a b "Ozroads: NSW State Route 83". Ozroads. Retrieved 17 November 2015.[self-published source]
  4. ^ "The Queen's Birthday East Coast Low: 8–9 June 2007". Bureau of Meteorology (Australia). Australia. Archived from the original on 1 June 2009. Retrieved 7 June 2009.
  5. ^ Marcus, Caroline; Dasey, Daniel; Gilmore, Heath (10 June 2007). "Rescuers find bodies of family in road collapse". The Age. Retrieved 7 June 2009.
  6. ^ a b Collins, Terry (16 March 2009). "Human error blamed for fatal Pacific Highway collapse". Central Coast Express Advocate. Retrieved 7 June 2009.[dead link]
  7. ^ Mccarthy, Joanne (18 September 2008). "Gosford council neglect in road culvert deaths". The Newcastle Herald. Retrieved 7 June 2009.
  8. ^ Besser, Linton (1 April 2013). "Hidden hazard: officials sitting on a ticking time bomb". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
  9. ^ Brown, Malcolm (1 July 2008). "Council blamed for deadly highway collapse". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 7 June 2009.