CONSTRUCTION work has begun for the new $3 million Oallen Ford Bridge over the Shoalhaven River, west of Nerriga.
Goulburn Mulwaree Council’s operations director Matt O’Rourke said the new bridge would be 120 metres long and five metres above the Shoalhaven River, allowing passage up to a one in 20-year flood.
At the moment, the clearing of vegetation on the Goulburn side of the Shoalhaven River from the road approach down to the river is occurring to make way for large earthworks.
“The clearing will allow council’s subcontractor to get in with the heavy equipment to carry out the excavations required,” Mr O’Rourke said.
A “basic schoolboy error” in the siting of the bridge was discovered by general manager Warwick Bennett just days before work was supposed to start last August.
Original plans showed the new structure would have covered part of an Aboriginal land claim.
The delay, and the extra battering and engineering required to move the bridge mostly to the road reserve, added about $400,000 to the project’s bill.
The extra money will come from council’s unrestricted cash reserves.
The bulk of the earthworks will be carried out between now and mid-February, with the concrete bridge works to begin by the end of the month.
“Once the bridge has been constructed, council staff will complete the road works by integrating the new approaches into the existing road,” Mr O’Rourke said.
“We expect to have bridge approaches completed by the end of June, subject to weather and river conditions and hope to have the project completed by July.”
Following the new bridge’s construction, the old timber bridge will be dismantled, and the site re-vegetated.
Mr O’Rourke said there would not be any disruption to traffic during the initial phase, however the existing road would need to be closed for a short period of time to allow integration of the bridge approaches into the existing road but the community would be advised of any closures.