Following two years of construction, the new Nelligen Bridge on the Kings Highway is set to host its official opening this weekend.
Funded by the NSW Government, the $148 million bridge was created to provide locals and tourists a safer crossing of the Clyde River.
Nelligen Bridge Replacement project manager Luke Brodie said the bridge was originally scheduled to open to traffic in late 2023.
“Major work started on the new bridge in early 2021, so it is great to be hitting the milestone of opening to traffic nearly a full year ahead of schedule,” Mr Brodie said.
“But there is still work to be done before the project is complete and the focus will now turn to the removal of the old bridge, final pavement work and landscaping.
“Earthworks on either side of the bridge were affected by rain last year but we managed to find pockets of good weather to get the work done to remain ahead of schedule.”
The bridge is expected to be open to motorists, cyclists and pedestrians in late February.
The Kings Highway is one of the busiest roads in the region. The discovery of the old bridge’s concrete pillars needing future serious repair led to the construction of the new bridge, Mr Brodie said.
“During routine inspections between 2010 and 2015, Transport for NSW identified the supporting concrete pillars under the existing Nelligen Bridge had deteriorated and would need significant future maintenance or replacement,” the Nelligen Bridge Replacement project manager said.
“A replacement bridge was found to be the best option to ensure a safe and reliable crossing of the Clyde River on the Kings Highway without speed or weight restrictions.
“The completed project will improve safety for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists by providing an improved curve on the eastern side of the bridge, wider lanes and shoulders, and safety barriers between the road and footpath.
“The project, including demolition of the old bridge, is expected to be completed by late 2023, weather permitting.”
To celebrate this exciting achievement, the Nelligen community and surrounds are invited to the official opening of the bridge this Saturday at the Nelligen Township Foreshore.
Mr Brodie said that from 10 am to 2 pm, the community will have the opportunity to walk across the new bridge following the official formalities, which will include a Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony by the Walbunja people.
“Transport for NSW will have a small hub set up on the western foreshore with a sausage sizzle run by the Nelligen Progress Association, information stands and a small play area set up for children,” Mr Brodie said.
“Given there will be no pedestrian access to the new bridge until it is opened to traffic, we will be running shuttle buses for the community.”
The shuttle buses will be leaving from the Nelligen Township Foreshore.
With more than 400,000 hours of work clocked up in constructing the new bridge and more than 5000 cubic metres of concrete poured, 74 per cent of the project has been completed.
Original Article published by Evelyn Karatzas on About Regional.