• Final girder installed at new Nambucca River Bridge at Macksville
• The milestone concludes three weeks of complex work on the bridge to install the final 20 girders
• The bridge is part of the Warrell Creek to Nambucca Heads section of the Pacific Highway upgrade, which is on track to open to traffic in late 2017
The Warrell Creek to Nambucca Heads section of the Pacific Highway upgrade reached a significant milestone today, with the final girder swinging into place on the new Nambucca River Bridge at Macksville.
Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said it was the 84th girder to be placed for the 850-metre-long bridge.
“Work started on this bridge back in July 2015, so placing the last girder is a real highlight of the project,” Mr Chester said. “This road infrastructure will change lives and save lives.
“The new crossing over the Nambucca River is part of the commitment by the Australian and New South Wales governments to upgrade the Pacific Highway, and every step towards that goal is a step closer to a safer road for motorists along the entire east coast.”
Federal Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker said finishing the girders brought the project one step closer to completion.
“The placing of the final 20 girders was a complicated process carried out over a period of three weeks. Today’s final girder placement is a highly visible sign of progress on an upgrade that is already saving lives and removing trucks and holiday traffic from local streets,” Mr Hartsuyker said.
New South Wales Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, Duncan Gay, said the girder installation for the bridge was a visually striking process.
“Each girder weighs about 158 tonnes and is nearly 42 metres long, and was transported from the pre-cast facility north of Macksville to the north bank of the Nambucca River,” Mr Gay said.
“Then a 400-tonne crane, which was stationed on a barge in the Nambucca River, was manoeuvred into position using a pusher tug boat. It was then secured before it lifted the girders into place.
“Dealing with environmental factors such as wind and river currents made the process difficult but it was achieved safely and without incident.”
New South Wales Member for Oxley, Melinda Pavey, also joined Mr Hartsuyker today for the start of works on the nearby Nambucca Heads Service Centre, which will provide an important rest opportunity for motorists on the Nambucca Heads to Urunga section.
“With the final girder placed here at Macksville, bridge construction efforts will focus on concrete deck construction and safety barrier installation,” Ms Pavey said.
“Of the 657 kilometres of the Pacific Highway from Hexham to the Queensland border, around 459 kilometres have been upgraded to a four-lane divided highway, while a further 148 kilometres is currently under construction.”
The Australian and New South Wales governments have a joint commitment to fully duplicate the Pacific Highway by 2020.
The Australian and NSW governments are each providing $415 million towards the Warrell Creek to Nambucca Heads project, which is due to be open to traffic in late 2017, weather permitting.