29 February 2024

After 12 months of delays, work to resume on vital bridge at Wallendbeen

| Edwina Mason
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Bridge being craned into position

A new temporary bridge was craned into place in 2021, replacing the century-old brick-and-steel bridge that had been demolished earlier in the year. Photo: Transport for NSW.

Work on a small but critical and long-awaited bridge connecting the Riverina Food Bowl with the Hume Highway is to resume this month.

Construction of the permanent road-over-rail bridge on Burley Griffin Way at Wallendbeen began in November 2022 and was expected to take 12 months.

But access negotiations and contractural arrangements brought work to a standstill in March 2023, raising the ire of Cootamundra State MP Steph Cooke.

Yet this week Transport for NSW announced it had remobilised the site, with preparation work starting on Monday (26 February).

Site establishment work is expected to continue ahead of an Australian Rail Track Corporation shutdown possession from Saturday to Monday, 9-11 March.

During this period, no trains will be running, allowing the construction team to carry out work 24 hours a day on the major Main Southern Line rail corridor, which links Sydney to Melbourne.

The new permanent rail bridge on Burley Griffin Way at Wallendbeen has been on the cards since the emergency removal of an existing bridge due to severe damage sustained during a rain event.

READ ALSO UPDATED: Immediate demolition for Wallendbeen bridge as road and rail services disrupted

In October 2021, a temporary single-lane steel bridge was installed, allowing motorists to drive the full length of Burley Griffin Way without the need for lengthy detours.

Burley Griffin Way is a key route on the network linking the Hume Highway to the Riverina and the Olympic and Newell highways.

The new permanent bridge will return a two-lane crossing to motorists, improving safety and travel times on this important freight corridor.

Transport for NSW says despite the 12-month delay, works have continued construction of temporary access for plant and equipment, and delivery of six super-T bridge girders and retaining wall blocks.

Extensive safety work has also been carried out, including regular inspections on the temporary bridge to ensure it remains safe and serviceable for the community and road users.

These inspections include studies of the area, traffic light phasing, signage, safety, compliance and driver behaviour.

One such inspection, the department said, showed excessive delays in the traffic light phasing, creating frustrations for drivers.

READ ALSO Wallendbeen’s temporary bridge causing community concerns

Community concerns around speed were also addressed, with a 20 km/h speed zone increased an additional 75 metres on bridge approaches, slowing traffic in the vicinity of Morrisons Hill and Silo roads to the west and North Jindalee Road to the south.

Calls for a pedestrian path on the replacement bridge, however, have not been heeded, with locals unable to use a nearby underpass to safely cross the railway line due to sustained flooding resulting from a damaged pipe.

Transport for NSW said it was working with Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council on active transport options within the village.

A community request for a pedestrian facility on Burley Griffin Way, linking the village to Barry Grace Oval, is also in the hands of the regional council.

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