New details of the planned bridge across the Molonglo River to replace the problematical Coppins Crossing have been released ahead of construction in 2023.
The ACT Government still expects the bridge to be completed and open to traffic in 2025 but it is still assessing tenders for the $178 million project.
The bridge has been long called for and will make a huge difference to those who regularly travel between Belconnen and the growing Molonglo Valley and Weston Creek.
The Molonglo Valley Community Forum convenor Ryan Hemsley cautiously welcomed the government’s confirmation of the 2025 completion date but was keen to see a contract awarded.
“While it is great to see the government recommit to a 2025 completion date, we’re still awaiting confirmation that a contract has been signed for the detailed design and construction of this vital piece of infrastructure,” he said.
“Until we get that confirmation, any promises regarding this project will be treated with a reasonable degree of scepticism.”
According to a fresh posting on the project, the new bridge will span 227.5 metres across the Molonglo River and be built above the one-in-100-year flood level, solving the problem of flooding and debris closing Coppins Crossing, something that has happened regularly in the past couple of years.
It will contribute to more efficient traffic flow generally because when Coppins Crossing is closed, motorists are forced to use the longer route via the Tuggeranong Parkway.
The bridge will be a part of the completion of John Gorton Drive, replacing a winding single-lane road with a safe and secure dual-carriageway link.
The safety issue was highlighted in tragic circumstances when three Bangladeshi tourists died in a head-on smash on Coppins Crossing Road in October.
The bridge won’t just be for motorists but will have on-road cycle lanes and off-road shared paths, as well as space to allow a future light rail connection.
It will also support native animal habitat for platypus nesting sites, striped legless lizards, water birds and bats.
This project is jointly funded between the ACT and Federal Governments as part of the Commonwealth’s Investment Road and Rail Program.
The development application for this project was approved in February 2021, and the tender process for design and construction closed in June 2022.