Two new bridges opened to traffic this week, with construction projects on Rockvale Road and Tanners Road nearing completion.
A new Wollomombi River Bridge was opened on Rockvale Road as part of Council’s Bridge Renewal Program to replace the region’s aged timber structures.
A Council crew has been completing road accesses to the bridge, after the concrete bridge structure was finished earlier this month.
Contractors will next week remove the temporary side track bridge that has been in place during construction so the road could stay open to traffic.
“We can then make the finishing touches to the site, including finalising the road accesses and new guardrails,” Armidale Regional Council Mayor Simon Murray said.
Councillor Murray said this week’s work on the road approaches to the bridge has been a good example of reusing water, when supplies for roadworks are extremely scarce because of the drought.
“The continuing drought is making road construction very difficult and expensive because of the very limited availability of water essential for the compaction of the road base,” he said.
“We have been fortunate with this project because the road approaches are quite short in length and we have been able to source water from Monckton Aquatic Centre, which has been emptying one of the 50-metre swimming pools for maintenance.”
The new concrete bridge has greater weight bearing capacity than the timber structure it replaced, enabling the removal of a load limit that previously required heavy vehicles to make a 13-kilometre detour along the Chandlers, Tullock and Lyndhurst Roads.
The Bridge Renewal Strategy has been funded through the Federal Government’s Bridges Renewal Program and the NSW Government’s Stronger Regions Fund.
Access for all vehicles has been restored on Tanners Road, following the completion of road approaches to an upgraded Oakey River Bridge. Forestry NSW strengthened the crossing in consultation with Council, to assist with upcoming forestry harvesting in the area.
Safety at another Rockvale Road bridge has been improved during the past week, with the widening of the northern road approach to the Boundary Creek structure to better accommodate heavy vehicles. New guardrails at the bridge are scheduled to be installed in September, with no interruptions to road users.