The Australian and NSW governments last week announced the winning tender from the new Harwood Bridge, which is a part of the Pacific Highway upgrade.
Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said Acciona Ferrovial Joint Venture was the preferred tender, to design and build the bridge.
“The new 1.5 kilometre bridge will be built 70 metres downstream of the existing bridge and is the longest of more than 100 bridges to be built as part of the [155km] Woolgoolga to Ballina Pacific Highway upgrade.
“Including the Harwood Bridge, we now have about 38 of the 155 kilometre project being built, with an additional 53 kilometres being prepared for major work.”
NSW Minister for Roads Duncan Gay said the bridge would remove a traffic hotspot.
“The Harwood Bridge is currently lifted around five times a week to allow boating vessels to pass underneath, creating lengthy traffic hold ups,” he said.
“The new bridge will have a significant 30 metre clearance above the Clarence River – about the same height as the top of the lift span on the current bridge – removing the need for bridge lifts and allowing a continuous free flowing highway along this busy stretch of road.
“The new bridge will also be widened from two to four lanes ensuring the bridge is capable of withstanding future traffic demand.”
Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan said work to build the bridge will contribute around “200 jobs to the 2,500 direct and 4,500 indirect jobs” being created on the Woolgoolga to Ballina section of the upgrade.
“The Pacific Highway upgrade has been the biggest boon for jobs in the local area in decades – we know about 35 per cent of local workers are picking up jobs on other sections of the upgrade,” he said.
“With a large number of people working on various sections of the upgrade for as many as seven to eight years, construction of the Harwood Bridge will provide yet another continued source of employment.”
NSW Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis said construction of the new bridge marks the “continuing growth on the north coast”.
“The existing Harwood Bridge was the last ferry crossing on the Pacific Highway to be bridged,” he said.
“When it opened in 1966 it was the third longest bridge in the state – the new bridge represents another important change in residential and tourist growth in the area.
“We hope to turn the new bridge’s sod on its [50th] birthday in August and have it completed in 2019.”
Seven businesses registered and three were shortlisted to submit a detailed tender for consideration by RMS.
For more information visit www.rms.nsw.gov.au/w2b