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L-R Clarence Valley mayor Jim Simmons, Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis, Grafton Chamber representative Des Harvey, Greg Nash – Senior Project Manager for Transport and Fulton Hogan Construction Manager, Aidan Thompson. Image: Lynne Mowbray

Finish line in sight for new Grafton Bridge

Lynne Mowbray |

The final segment of the new Grafton Bridge was lifted into place on Tuesday last week; 14 months after the first segment was put in place.

Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis together with Clarence Valley mayor Jim Simmons and Grafton Chamber of Commerce representative Des Harvey, walked the span for the first time on Friday with Transport for NSW Senior Project Manager Greg Nash and Fulton Hogan construction manager, Aidan Thompson.

After walking the length of new Grafton Bridge and with the end its construction in sight, Mr Gulaptis shared his analogy; likening the new Grafton Bridge, to champion racehorse Winx.

“There’s a lot of excitement and anticipation at the beginning. The race starts and she’s back in the field and the crowd murmurs but as she hits her straps in the home straight and she hits the front with the finish line in sight, excitement reaches fever pitch,” Mr Gulaptis said.

“To see the new bridge on the home straight with the finish line in sight after a long race is just as momentous and we’re all very excited about it,” he said.

Greg Nash – Senior Project Manager for Transport – said that a significant milestone for the project had been reached (last week), with the placement of the last super structure segment.

“The Grafton skyline will now see a lot of the big cranes disappear,” Mr Nash said.

“We are onto the last phase of the project, which is the finishing works.

“We are putting in parfaits and barriers and there’s railings to go up and street lighting, deck drainage, asphalt on the surfacing and approach rails to be finalised. There are still a lot of tasks to happen before it opens to traffic, but we’re now on the final push as a finishing work.

“Our pre-cast plant in South Grafton has now closed down with all of the 176 pre-cast (cement) segments completed.

“We’ll see the barge and the marine works moving off this week, so the (employee) numbers will come down and we’ll have new crews, the finishing crews, coming on board.

“We’re still targeting to have the bridge open before Christmas 2019. That’s our target; it’s pretty ambitious and there’s a lot of work to be done, but that’s what we’re pushing for,” he said.

Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis (right) speaks with Fulton Hogan Construction Manager, Aidan Thompson before walking over the deck of the new Grafton Bridge for the first time, last Friday. Image: Lynne Mowbray