In what’s sure to be welcome news for the 6000 commuters from the Molonglo Valley and West Belconnen who use Coppins Crossing every day, the low-level bridge has this afternoon opened to traffic once more.
It will mean the transit times for residents, which increase by between 15 and 20 minutes in both the mornings and evenings every time the crossing is shut, will return to normal once more.
The river crossing was closed earlier this month after heavy rain lashed the region and led to the flooding of the crossing and huge amounts of debris being swept downstream.
The guardrail has been almost entirely swept away.
On Monday, the ACT Government announced it would be another fortnight before the road would reopen to traffic once more, much to the frustration of locals.
Transport Canberra and City Services executive branch manager of infrastructure delivery Jeremy Smith said on Monday work wouldn’t be able to start until the water levels had receded to usual levels.
By Wednesday, the government had confirmed it had engaged a “specialist contractor” to undertake the clean-up but it would still be between one and two weeks before the work was completed as the debris needed to be cleared and the guardrail replaced with concrete barriers.
This afternoon, a Facebook post confirmed that work had already been completed.
“Coppins Crossing will reopen to traffic at 3 pm today,” the post read.
“The extensive debris from the storm has been removed and the damaged guardrails have been replaced with concrete barriers.
“We thank Canberrans for their patience while this work has been undertaken.”
VIDEO: Large excavator being shipped out of #CoppinsCrossing this morning. Cleanup only started yesterday, could it be done already? If so, why wait 10 days to start cleanup if it can be done in a day?! pic.twitter.com/6vLmySt2We
— Is Coppins Crossing Open? (@CoppinsCrossing) August 19, 2022
It was the 12th time the low-level crossing had been closed due to flooding in the last two years alone.
Compounding residents’ frustration is that a four-lane bridge over the river won’t be open to traffic until the end of 2025.
That bridge will sit above the level of a once in one-hundred-year flood in the Molonglo River.
The $175 million project is being jointly funded by the Territory and Commonwealth governments.
TCCS has already warned delays are likely to impact this timeline due to worldwide material shortages.
Residents of the rapidly-growing Molonglo Valley have questioned why this piece of infrastructure was not commenced before the suburbs were built.
Yet more locals are simply keen to see the government employ workers of its own who would be able to clean up the bridge when it floods.
“It’s really disappointing the ACT Government doesn’t have someone available on staff, on a contractor on a pre-approved list who they can get out to clear the crossing,” owner of the site Is Coppins Crossing Open Andrew* said.
“If the concrete barriers were put up as we had previously, the bridge could be functional in a couple of days’ work.
“Overall, this just highlights the fact there is no plan to deal with and manage flooding and closures.”
*Last name withheld.