Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan was joined last Friday by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Michael McCormack to view construction progress on the new bridge across the Clarence River at Harwood. Accompanying them was Deputy Nationals leader Bridget McKenzie. Mr Hogan said once open, the new bridge would improve safety and efficiency on the Pacific Highway by removing the need to stop traffic while the current truss bridge’s lift span is raised to provide high vessels with safe passage on the river. “This 1.5-kilometre crossing is one of the crowning jewels of the Woolgoolga to Ballina section of the Pacific Highway upgrade, and the ongoing installation of concrete girders, each up to 44 metres long, is an impressive project,” he said. Mr Hogan said the 144 girders would continue to be installed over the next six months. “The milestones keep coming for this transformational project, with girder installation ongoing, following the completion of all 117 land and marine piles late last year,” he said. The bridge would be the largest to be built as part of the 155-kilometre Woolgoolga to Ballina section. “The existing Harwood Bridge will become part of the local road network when the new bridge opens, providing an alternative route for residents and businesses,” Mr Hogan said. Mr McCormack said each girder weighed about 168 tonnes. “The installation of the u-girders will steadily get more challenging, with the highest girder on the bridge reaching about 30 metres above the river,” he said. The new bridge across the Clarence River at Harwood will open to traffic in 2020. The Australian and New South Wales governments are jointly funding the Woolgoolga to Ballina project on an 80:20 basis.