A major milestone on the Woolgoolga to Halfway Creek section of the Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade was achieved last week , with the first girders for the Sherwood Creek Road bridge lifted into place. Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said the Sherwood Creek Road bridge is one of 40 to be constructed as part of the larger Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade. “Piling work started in September on the Sherwood Creek Road overpass which will be 60 metres long. The bridge will improve connectivity on the local road network and will allow local freight operators and motorists to get to their destinations quickly. “Each girder is about 30 metres long and weighs 55 tonnes and will be delivered to the work site just north of the Arrawarra interchange.” New South Wales Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Duncan Gay said the girder installation is part of major work on the first of 40 new bridges to be built on the 155 kilometre Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade. “Bridges will be new and built from scratch, and will cross soft soil, creeks and floodplains – improving flood immunity on the highway. This will result in motorists and freight encountering fewer delays and spending less time on the road,” Mr Gay said. “Currently we have 3,500 people per day working on upgrades such as these – and are expecting this number to grow to at least 4000 next year. Bridge and road work on this upgrade is creating more jobs than any other regional project we’ve seen in the last decade.” Federal Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker said the girder lift was a major piece of engineering work and he was delighted to see the local labour force being used to build the bridge. “The girders have been manufactured locally at Leightons’ pre-cast yard in Coffs Harbour and the contractor OHL York Joint Venture has 305 workers project-wide, most of whom are based locally,” Mr Hartsuyker said. “During the week, 10 girders have been delivered from Coffs Harbour to the work site in three separate deliveries – before the morning peak, during the middle of the day and following the afternoon peak. “These have been lifted into place by a 450 tonne crane and secured in place so work to build the bridge deck can start. “The construction of Sherwood Creek Road bridge and the other 39 bridges along the Upgrade has created many hundreds of jobs for workers with engineering expertise as well as opportunities for local contractors and suppliers. “It is great to see Roads and Maritime Services and its contractors, wherever possible, have pledged to use local products and services for the project.” Mr Hartsuyker said the Woolgoolga to Ballina section of the Pacific Highway upgrade will create up to 2,500 direct jobs and 7,500 indirect jobs. The 14 kilometre Woolgoolga to Halfway Creek upgrade is on track for completion in 2017, weather permitting.