The final design for a new permanent bridge at Wallendbeen has been completed and construction is expected to begin later this year.
This is welcome news for local residents, Riverina transport operators and tourists who were forced to divert for months after a wet weather event severely damaged the original road-over-rail bridge in March last year.
While rail traffic was temporarily affected, the Burley Griffin Way diversions remained in place until a temporary single-lane steel bridge was completed in November.
Burley Griffin Way provides a link between the agricultural produce of the western Riverina and Murrumbidgee regions and markets such as Canberra, Sydney and Newcastle.
It also leads tourists on what is termed as a “backtrack to the outback”, connecting to the Newell Highway and beyond to South Australia and North West Victoria.
Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said that with around about 1000 vehicles travelling along the Burley Griffin Way road corridor in each direction every day, the new bridge would bring improved travel times as it returned a two-lane crossing to motorists.
“The new permanent bridge has been designed to Australian Standards for bridge design and will be wider than both the original and temporary bridge, able to accommodate b-doubles and even larger trucks,” she said.
Construction is expected to begin later this year, a timeframe Ms Cooke said allowed for the tender advertisement and evaluation period, the contract award and site preparation.
“Once construction starts, it is estimated the bridge will take about a year to complete, weather permitting,” she said.
The original two-lane bridge was removed in March last year after being damaged by a wet weather event.
Transport for NSW installed the single-lane temporary steel bridge in October 2021 to get traffic back on Burley Griffin Way as quickly as possible.
The temporary bridge will remain in place while the new bridge is built.
Transport will contact the community later this year with further information when a start date is confirmed.