The last girder has been installed on a new bridge over the Richmond River at Broadwater, part of the Woolgoolga to Ballina Pacific Highway upgrade.
But if you are getting excited about the prospect of driving over it any time soon, you will need to cool it: The new bridge will not open to traffic until 2020, ‘weather permitting’.
Federal Page MP Kevin Hogan (Nationals) said the new bridge, which is the second-longest of 170 bridges on the Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade, ‘provides a critical link for the 155 kilometres of new dual carriageway and I am glad to see it getting closer to completion’.
‘This is the first time a bridge this wide has been built in Australia with a single precast headstock, meaning that there is a shell for each column to support the load of the girders,’ he said.
‘This has reduced the need for temporary construction work, eliminating 20,000 hours of working, which has not only saved time but also improved safety for workers.
NSW roads minister Melinda Pavey (Nationals), said the
project team had made ‘impressive progress to successfully install all 234 girders, weighing 80 tonnes each’.
‘This included safely installing nine girders above the existing Pacific Highway at night and installing 81 girders from a barge in the river,’ Mrs Pavey said.
Deputy PM Michael McCormack (Nationals) said the installation represented ‘a momentous achievement’.
‘The placement of the final girder is a significant and positive milestone to end the year on,’ he said.
National Party Ballina candidate Ben Franklin said the project team would be using 43,000 tonnes of concrete, 3,500 tonnes of asphalt and 2,500 tonnes of steel to build the bridge.
‘Piling work was completed earlier this year and the bridge deck is already more than 70 per cent complete,’ Mr Franklin said.
‘The bridge will be a unique visual landmark, creating a new connection between the Richmond Valley and Ballina Shire council areas.’
The $4.3 billion Pacific Highway – Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade has been jointly funded by the Australian and NSW governments, with the Australian Government committing up to $3.46 billion and the NSW Government committing the remainder.