A 27-kilometre four-lane road linking Forrest Highway to Bussell Highway continues to take shape, with most of the columns and piles now in place.
The new section of highway, called the Bunbury Outer Ring Road, will cross over multiple roads, a freight rail line and a river.
The idea is to take traffic around WA’s second-biggest city, resulting in a more direct route between Perth and the Margaret River region.
It’s a huge undertaking with a hefty price-tag of $1.25 billion, making it WA’s most expensive road project.
Once complete, the new ‘Mega-Bridge’ is expected to greatly reduce travel time, improve freight efficiency and deliver better port access.
To date, 27 of the bridge’s 33 columns are down, along with 45 piles which are now in place.
The piles are drilled and concreted almost 30-metres deep into the ground to ensure the weight of the bridge can be supported.
The columns are being placed across 11 piers to support 60 tee-roff bridge beams – with each beam measuring 26 metres long and weighing over 80 tonnes.
The 27th column is in place at the ninth pier and the first precast concrete headstock shell has now been installed.
Headstock shells are cross-supporting structures placed on the top part of the bridge’s piers to support the tee-roff beams and the bridge superstructure.
The Tee-Roff beams are unique beams that span across the freight rail line. They’ve been manufactured in the purpose-built facility for the project in Picton East.
The Mega-Bridge will run over Golding Crescent and Boyanup-Bicton Road, as well as the rail line used for freight and the Ferguson River.
“The Mega-Bridge is a complex and significant element of infrastructure for the new Bunbury Outer Ring Road,” said Jackson Lingwood, construction manager for structures and bridges. “Our construction milestones achievement to date is very exciting for everyone who has contributed.”
Around 10,000 to 15,000 vehicles are expected to use the new road each day once completed – with motorists saving between 11 to 18 minutes on their journey, depending on their destination and peak traffic conditions.
Though not everyone has been happy about the new road. When clearing began in August last year, around 300 people gathered at the site protesting the road going through their communities and the impact it would have on the environment.