By BELINDA F SCOTT
COFFS Creek Bridge went airborne yesterday. A giant 180-tonne crane swung into place the first of 90 beams which will make up the horizontal structure of the bridge.
Each of the giant concrete beams weighs 33 tonnes, making yesterday's start of the operation an anxious time for engineers and site workers on the $5 million bridge.
The beams of the 130-metre, five-span bridge are being laid over 18-metre concrete piles.
Coffs Harbour City Council works manager Allan Hindmarsh said placing the beams would continue until March.
Interested people can see the work from behind a wire barrier at the end of Barrie Street, past the Glenreagh Street TAFE campus.
The Coffs Creek walkway has been diverted around the southern bridge approaches, but part of the northern walkway is closed until the work on the bridge is finished.
Mr Hindmarsh said work on the Hogbin Drive extension was slightly ahead of schedule, 'although it won't take much to get behind' with concreting work due to begin on the second half of the new Harbour Drive roundabout on January 29.
"We are looking at having traffic on the section between Albany Street and the new Harbour Drive roundabout by early to mid-March," Mr Hindmarsh said.