Old bridge to serve a new purpose

23 July 2014

Old bridge to serve a new purpose

George Souris, MP, Member for Upper Hunter announced that the new Fitzgerald Bridge over the Hunter River at Aberdeen opened to traffic in May and work is about to start to repurpose the old bridge structures.

Mr. Souris said the 130 year old southbound heritage bridge will be retained for pedestrian and cyclist use and the northbound bridge, built in 1986, will be removed with materials crushed and given to Upper Hunter Shire Council for use in future road building activities.

“In total, 1200 tonnes of concrete will be crushed at Aberdeen Quarry and provided to Council, for use in future road work and other bridge components, such as steel will be recycled,” Mr. Souris said.

Upper Hunter Shire Council Mayor Michael Johnsen welcomed the recycling initiative which will benefit the local community. This will provide useful materials for council road projects, reduce landfill and save costs which will ultimately benefit rate payers,” Mayor Johnsen said.

Mr. Souris said the community was keen to see the old heritage bridge kept for recreational use and Roads and Maritime Services have been able to ensure it remains in place. “Future upgrade work is planned for the southbound bridge in coming months to improve access for pedestrian and cyclists and extend the life of the heritage bridge. The community will be provided further details before the upgrade starts,” Mr. Souris said.

“Also a new concrete path will be provided under the bridges, linking the western side of the new bridge to the old southbound heritage bridge. “The piers of the new Fitzgerald Bridge align with the heritage bridge to allow kayakers and local community groups to make use of the river.”

Demolition and removal work of the previous northbound bridge will start on Monday 28 July. Work will be carried out on weekdays from 7am to 6pm and on Saturdays 8am to 1pm. The work is expected to be completed in early next year, weather permitting. Roads and Maritime will make every effort to minimise noise associated with this work and any changed traffic conditions will be advised. Traffic controllers will be in place as required to direct motorists and there will be a slight increase in truck movements to and from the site.”

Mr. Souris said the new bridge was great for the local community and would improve productivity by enabling more efficient and direct freight movements.

“The recent opening of the new Fitzgerald Bridge at Aberdeen means the entire length of the New England Highway in NSW – from Hexham near Newcastle to Toowoomba in southeast Queensland – is now suitable for Higher Mass Limit vehicles,” Mr. Souris said.

“The new bridge was the last piece in the puzzle to provide uninterrupted Higher Mass Limit vehicle access between Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, meaning these vehicles can continue down the New England Highway for their entire journey, avoiding a potential five hour detour.”

For more information about work to repurpose the old Fitzgerald bridge stuctures visit the Fitzgerald Bridge project website, Mr. Souris concluded.

Contact G Souris: Office (02) 6543 1065; Parliament House (02) 9230 2196; Mobile 0427 241 528

View the original media release (PDF)

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