Rawdon Island bridge repair work is planned to start in November with the aim to open the bridge to general access heavy vehicles by the end of 2021.
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council acknowledged the extremely tight delivery timeline as part of a report to its September meeting.
The bridge closed to traffic on July 5 as a safety measure after underwater inspections identified major structural issues with the pylons.
Rawdon Island bridge has reopened, with conditions, after load testing and further structural analysis.
The span is open between 5.30am and 10pm with a five tonne load limit and a single lane.
Rawdon Island resident Pauline Chapman and it was fabulous to be able to get on and off the island by car.
"I feel for the primary producers, heavy vehicle operators and people rebuilding after the floods," she said.
Mrs Chapman said she had confidence the repair timeline would be met.
"Council has a clear indication on how this will impact residents if they don't meet the timeline," she said.
Rawdon Island resident Matt Rourke said it was good to have the ability to meet family requirements given the bridge's reopening with conditions.
But he remains hesitant about making farm-related decisions due to access restrictions.
Mr Rourke is concerned about the time it has taken the council to get to this point and whether the repair timeline is achievable.
A report to the September council meeting provided an update.
Design work and construction planning is underway to fix the damaged piles with the repair work planned to begin in early November.
The target is to complete the initial repairs before the end of the year.
The council is also working on a contingency plan.
The report said the contingency plan was for a temporary alternative access crossing should the design analysis for the repairs show significant works were required to reopen the bridge to general access heavy vehicles, and therefore not able to be completed before the end of the year.
"Detailed design work is currently underway for a temporary bridge and causeway crossing of Caswell Channel between Ennis Road and Narrow Gut Road," the report said.
"It is anticipated that sufficient information about the bridge repair works will be known by early October for a decision to be made regarding commencing construction of the temporary alternative access to have it open by the end of the year."
A barge operation is in place to support primary producers and heavy vehicle operators.
The council agreed to waive the $56 weighbridge ticket fee at the Cairncross Waste Management Facility for residents and business operators of Rawdon Island and Little Rawdon Island requiring a weighbridge ticket to certify a vehicle weight less than the signposted bridge weight limit.
The measure applies for up to six months.
Deputy mayor Lisa Intemann said the weighbridge ticket fee waiver was a good move and would provide some assistance to residents.
Cr Intemann said it was an "absolutely dramatic imposition" and a "dramatic event" for the community in terms of losing access to their bridge.
She commended residents for the good spirit with which they had dealt with this incredible inconvenience.
Cr Intemann also recognised the efforts of council staff and the progress to date.
"My heart still goes out to the residents and to assure them that I and others are certainly doing as much as we can to have the normalcy of life return," Cr Intemann said.
Fifty households are impacted as the bridge provides the only road access to Rawdon Island.
Cr Sharon Griffiths pointed out a few measures in the very near future that should assist the community in exiting Rawdon Island.
Meanwhile, once the initial repair design works are completed and construction is underway, the planning focus will shift to analysing the feasibility of a full bridge rehabilitation compared to the need for a complete rebuild, the council report said.
The timeline for any long-term solutions has not yet been developed.
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