22 March 2021

Community walk to mark Batemans Bay's historic bridge opening

| Kim Treasure
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Batemans Bay's new and old bridges.

Batemans Bay’s new and old bridges side by side in January 2021. Photo: Alex Rea.

Despite days of flooding rain on the NSW South Coast, Member for Bega Andrew Constance’s office says everything is still on track for the new Batemans Bay Bridge to open to traffic in time for the Easter break – months ahead of schedule.

Traffic is scheduled to move onto two lanes of the new $274 million bridge in coming weeks with the community being given the opportunity to walk across the new structure this weekend.

Mr Constance said community members would have a chance to take part in a very special celebration of the milestone on Saturday, 27 March.

“This bridge is for the community, and the community needed to be a part of this occasion,” he said. “To mark this historic event, members of the community can register to walk across the bridge on Saturday, 27 March, ahead of the opening to traffic.

“In line with current COVID-19 public health orders for outdoor gatherings, all participants must pre-register and receive a ticket to take part in the community walk, but we’re excited the community will join us in celebrating the new bridge before it opens to traffic.”

People unable to attend the walk can watch a livestream on the NSW Roads Facebook page.

READ ALSO Bidding farewell to the old Bay Bridge and its operators as new structure soars

“The public will also have access to the new three-metre wide shared path in the days following the opening, where they can enjoy walking or cycling across the new structure as work continues to fully complete the project,” said Mr Constance.

“[The new bridge] will improve the amenity of the foreshore and provide uninterrupted access for river users.”

While the opening of the new bridge will be welcomed by motorists frustrated by years of traffic delays caused by the lifting span on the old one, it will also be tinged with sadness for those who associate the sight of the current bridge with home.

Work to remove the existing 65-year-old bridge will begin as soon as the new structure is operable. It will be disassembled and commemorated with an artwork on the southern foreshore.

The old Batemans Bay Bridge over Clyde River.

The old Batemans Bay Bridge was opened in 1956 and has become synonymous with the coastal town. Photo: File.

After more than 700,000 hours of work on the project, the opening formalities will start at 8 am with a ribbon-cutting and smoking ceremony at the bridge’s southern end. This will be followed by a procession of emergency services vehicles across the new bridge before it is opened up for the community walk from around 9 am.

More information on the bridge opening and upcoming work is available in the latest community update online here.

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Dragisa Mladenovic5:51 pm 26 Mar 21

Do not open for Easter holiday…

Nina Poulton2:49 pm 23 Mar 21

Well I for one will be excited to walk across the bridge this Saturday, but I do not look forward to the traffic congestion that will occur this coming Easter, as its still only 2 lanes with visitors coming north and from Canberra here, I live 10 kms away and it takes me at holiday times over 45 mins to get to town, until the whole thing is completed then its still like Sydneys Pitt Street

Matthew Saxby5:08 pm 05 Apr 21

If, as seems to be the case, the old bridge still gave access to the town, why wasn’t it kept on as the southbound lanes of the highway until the new bridge was fully open? If it’s stood for 65 years, surely it could have lasted another 2-3 months? While there might be a good reason for not doing as I’ve just suggested, it concerns me that it seems not to have been thought of. Right now, if there is an accident on the new bridge while it’s still only half open, Batemans Bay will end up with two bridges and no way across the river. Not a good look at all.

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