Community News

A tale of two bridges

Two major milestones were realised at either end of the Clarence River during the past week as both the new Harwood and Grafton bridges were open.

Many community members turned out for the New Grafton Bridge Community Day on Sunday December 8, and take advantage of the opportunity to walk across the new bridge before it is opened to traffic in the coming days.

The community has waited decades for the opening of the new bridge and local residents seemed excited to celebrate the occasion.

The $240 million project has been funded by the NSW Government. The new bridge crossing is 525 metres long and is located 70 metres downstream from the existing road and rail bridge. This project has also included upgrading parts of the road network in Grafton and South Grafton to connect the new bridge to the road network.

The new bridge at Harwood over the Clarence River opened to traffic on Friday, marking a major milestone on the Woolgoolga to Ballina Pacific Highway upgrade.

Clarence Nationals MP Chris Gulaptis said the opening was an exciting time for the local community.

“This bridge will be a game changer for the region as highway traffic will no longer need to be stopped with the existing bridge lifts for vessels on the river,” Mr Gulaptis said.

Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan said due to the bushfires, “we unfortunately had to cancel the community day planned for earlier this month”.

The new Harwood interchange has also opened overnight while the Yamba interchange also partly opened, with a temporary diversion in place at the northbound off ramp for about two weeks.

The 1.52 kilometre, 35 span dual carriageway bridge forms a 620 metre length over the river, has a 30 metre vertical clearance above the river and is 20 metres east of the existing Harwood Bridge

Many community members turned out to walk over the new Grafton Bridge at the Grafton Bridge Community Day on Sunday December 8. Image: Simon Hughes