News, Road upgrades, Western Australia

Fitzroy Crossing bridge re-opens to truckies before Christmas


WA freight operators and remote communities are celebrating this week with the announcement the Fitzroy River Bridge is to open six months ahead of schedule.

Main Roads WA confirmed on Wednesday, October 11, that the key freight route would be open to all traffic before Christmas, less than a year after the bridge was destroyed by once-in-100-year flooding in January.

Construction of the bridge project is progressing at a “rapid rate” with the entire bridge deck now substantively complete.

Works are now underway on the deck surfacing and safety barriers, as well as road construction works on both bridge approaches.

“I think it’s going to be a huge sigh of relief for everyone in the Kimberley — for freight operators tourism operators and of course the local community,” WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti told media.

“Now, of course, a wet season is unpredictable, so you’re never quite sure when it’s going to arrive and how bad it will be.

“But we’re now comfortable because we have pretty much completed the structure of the bridge that we will now be spending the next few weeks … finishing all the other components,” she said.

“I say a big thank you to all the workers involved.”

Western Roads Federation CEO Cam Dumesny paid tribute to Main Roads for its forward thinking.

“At one stage they were talking about the bridge not even being available until 2025,” Dumesny told ABC News.

“They adopted a technique that hadn’t been done in WA or Australia before; [building] the bridge on one side of the river and sliding it across bit-by-bit,” he said.

“You’ve got to give them credit for having the courage to try that method.”

After the bridge was wiped out by the floods, many operators were forced to travel from Perth, to Port Augusta to Katherine to Kununurra, a journey of more than 12,000km.

A two-lane stop-gap was hastily built as a solution, but was closed in mid-September ahead of the wet season, leaving just a single lane causeway, 4km upstream of the new bridge, which remains open.

Main Roads said it will continue to keep the local community and freight industry updated on the progress of the works and a further announcement on the details of opening to traffic and timing will be made in the coming weeks.

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