With the new Batemans Bay Bridge open for traffic, work is starting on another connection for motorists travelling between Canberra and the NSW South Coast.
The first sod has been turned on the Nelligen Bridge project, with traffic expected to flow over the new structure by late 2023.
Member for Bega Andrew Constance says the $148 million project is being delivered by the NSW Government as part of its commitment to safer journeys into and along the South Coast.
“We know how important the highway connection is between Canberra and the coast for the local community, visitors to the region and transport operators,” he said. “This new bridge marks a major investment in safer journeys for the thousands of people who use it every day.
“The new bridge will increase safety for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists by providing an improved curve on the eastern side of the bridge, with wider lanes and shoulders, plus a safety barrier between the road and footpath.
“The project will also improve access around the river’s foreshore with a two metre-wide path linking Thule Road and Reid Street, along with a new community space to be built on the western side of the existing bridge.”
The 349-metre bridge is being built with a 100-year design life that includes the option of adding another lane in each direction if required.
It will eventually replace the current Nelligen Bridge, which opened in 1964 – a massive upgrade on the punt service that had operated across Clyde River since 1895.
Thirty thousand vehicles used the punt the year before it was replaced. The route now services more vehicle movements than that each week, and concerns about the safety of the structure date back almost 10 years. Routine inspections discovered advanced deterioration of several concrete pillars, and the decision was made to build a new bridge rather than try to repair the existing structure.
Seymour Whyte Constructions has been awarded the contract for the project.
Mr Constance says the new bridge project is supporting jobs “at a time we need them the most, with the project employing around 90 people, including local suppliers and subcontractors.”
Commencing work includes installing concrete injected columns on the eastern approach to the new bridge, which will improve the ground to better support the new section of highway.
A temporary jetty and rock platform will also be built to enable work to be carried out in the river.
The new bridge is expected to open to traffic by late 2023, and the project – including removal of the old bridge – is expected to be finished by late 2024, weather permitting.