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The bridges of Pedler Creek

Wed, 29 May, 2024

Brian Martin has seen many changes in transport--and bridges--in almost 70 years living in his home on the Fleurieu Peninsula.

The local, now in his late 80s, has watched the new four-lane bridge over Pedler Creek on Main South Road at Seaford Heights being gradually constructed over the past year.

At last count, this will be the third Pedler Creek bridge he has driven on in his lifetime. Meanwhile, the foundations of a fourth bridge, which would have served horses and buggies, are still visible.

Each bridge has been bigger than the last, to keep up with the increases in population, the evolution of transport and the volume of motor vehicles travelling into and through the region.

Brian’s family have a long history in the area, having lived in the region for about 170 years. After attending primary school in McLaren Vale, Brian spent his remaining school years in Adelaide, returning at the age of 18.

‘I came back in 1955 and have been here since,’ Brian said.

Back then, the main road to the south ran past his property and the narrow bridge over Pedler Creek bordered his front yard. That bridge, originally constructed from stone and wood, is still there with its striking brickwork (pictured).

Brian recalls running sheep along the narrow, unsealed road and over the bridge, and seeing ‘the occasional car’. There was also the story of a truck loaded high with wool bales that took the corner over the bridge too quickly and ended up running into the bank. ‘Every bale of wool came off that truck and the whole road was scattered with bales of wool,’ Brian says.

Those were different times as his view across the region was uninterrupted. ‘Back then, all I could see was farmland—Moana was there and Moana South but the rest was farmland.

This was back in the time when there were still passenger trains travelling through to Willunga. The old train line is long gone and has been replaced with the Coast to Vines rail trail, which is now a popular Shared Use Path for walkers and cyclists.

Brian also remembers the building of the next Pedler Creek bridge on Main South Road in the 1960s, just after his first daughter was born. This two-lane bridge is about to be dismantled following the opening of its four-lane replacement to traffic recently.

He said, back in the 60s, the two-lane bridge was a welcome addition to the area as traffic volumes had increased and this was becoming an issue on the narrow and windy road- especially for trucks and semitrailers.