To the Editor of the Herald.
SIR,—My attention has been called to your remarks on the progress of the works of the "West Maitland Bridge" in your summary for England of the 4th December. In the paragraph referred to it says— "The West Maitland bridge does not seem to be progressing as satisfactorily as could be desired." In fairness to myself I cannot allow this to go uncontradicted, for ever since the matters of dif- ference between the Engineer-in-Chief and myself were arranged, the works have been rushed on as fast as it was possible ; but, owing to the enormous additional amount of labour required by the Engineer-in-Chief in the erec- tion, beyond what was shown on plans, the progress has been much slower than it otherwise would have been.
It further says, "the ironwork is found to be anything but first-class," &c., leading the public to believe that the material is bad, and shaking their confidence in the stability of the work, whereas the iron is of the very best Staffordshire as specified, and has been furnished by one of the largest and most respectable firms in England, viz., Messrs. Lloyds, Fosters, and Company's Wednesbury, Old Park Ironworks, Staffordshire. This is now the sixth bridge this firm has exported for me, viz., two bridges at Hawthorne, over the River Yarra, Melbourne, the Gundagai, Pitnacree, and Dunmore bridges, and no fault was ever found with any of them ; and as a proof that the West Maitland bridge is of the very best workmanship and material, the portion now completed has been subjected to the most severe tests in launching it over the piers,
one entire span having been suspended for over
two months, without any support at one end, and without the slightest deflection. I may mention that this bridge and the Gundagai were being constructed at the
same time, by the same firm, but in different departments of the Government service ; the latter one, in the Roads' Department, was inspected in England by the eminent engineer Mr. Fowler, and gave the greatest satisfaction here ; the West Maitland Bridge was not, although the Engineer-in-Chief was asked to have it similarly inspected
in England, but refused.
As a further proof of the inaccuracy of the paragraph referred to, it is stated "the ironwork for the approach to the bridge is nearly all on the ground," whereas no portion
of if has yet been delivered on the ground up to this date,
I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
Contractor for the West Maitland Bridge.
East Maitland, 11th December, 1868.