The long-awaited Molonglo River Bridge is a step closer with the ACT Government seeking expressions of interest for the tender to design and construct the crucial piece of infrastructure to complete the arterial link between the new suburbs of the Molonglo Valley and West Belconnen.
The government says the detailed design phase is expected to commence in mid-2022 and take one year to finalise with construction commencing soon after. The project is expected to be completed and open to traffic by the end of 2025.
The bridge project will replace the single-lane Coppins Crossing, which is often closed due to flooding, and complete the 7.2 km dual carriageway John Gorton Drive from the Cotter Road in the south to William Hovell Drive in the north.
The bridge will span 227 metres across the Molonglo River but the project will also include 1.7 kilometres of roadway approaching the crossing.
The development application was approved in February.
The EOI document says the project will include the design and construction of four traffic lanes, on-road cycle lanes, separate share paths, two new signalised intersections, road and bridge lighting, stormwater management, landscaping, landscape rehabilitation in the Molonglo River Reserve and other works.
It will also need to integrate with the planned Molonglo Group Centre, including shared path connections, bus stops, accommodation of a future light rail stop, a pedestrian underpass, a signalised intersection and tailored urban landscaping, as well as accommodating a future light rail corridor.
The project will also include the establishment of fauna habitats for native wildlife, including aquatic creatures.
Transport and City Services Minister Chris Steel said the project would create more than 500 jobs during the design and construction.
“The construction of the Molonglo River Bridge and completion of John Gorton Drive will transform the Molonglo region and better connect the northern suburbs of Molonglo including Denman Prospect and Whitlam to the rest of the Molonglo Valley,” he said.
Mr Steel said the project would provide a reliable connection for Canberrans who currently travel through Coppins Crossing to Woden and West-Belconnen.
“This is not just a bridge-building project. New arterial roadways leading up to the bridge and new intersections will be constructed, providing access to the future Molonglo Commercial Centre and the suburb of Whitlam,” he said.
“In addition to these major infrastructure upgrades, the project also includes important active travel links with off-road shared paths and on-road cycle lanes to encourage more Canberrans to jump on a bike to get to their destination.”
Mr Steel said the bridge would also be important for public transport, supporting a future light rail connection as well as up to six new bus stops and bus priority at identified intersections.
The ACT and Commonwealth governments are jointly funding the $176.2 million project.
Senator for the ACT Zed Seselja said this project will provide a major economic stimulus to the Canberra region, including creating an estimated 560 jobs during the detailed design and construction phases.
“Projects like the Molonglo River Bridge are important to not only keep Canberrans employed and businesses running, but also to provide the Canberra community with better infrastructure connections and safer roads long into the future,” Senator Seselja said.
“The Commonwealth’s $87.5 million contribution to this vital project is part of our $1.8 billion infrastructure investment bonanza in new projects across the ACT since 2018.”