WHILE the Clarence Valley has watched the progress of the new Harwood bridge with interest, another of the big bridges of the project has passed a new milestone

The last girder has been installed on a new 873-metre bridge at Shark Creek near Tyndale as part of the Pacific Highway upgrade.

Federal Member for Page, Kevin Hogan said this ensures a great end to the year, with work expected to finish in 2019 on the longest bridge over land on the 155-kilometre Woolgoolga to Ballina section of the upgrade.

"This bridge has truly come out of the ground this year with all 234 super-t girders, each weighing about 63 tonnes, successfully delivered and installed. Piling work was also completed and all 25 headstocks have been installed in 2018.

"It's been a challenging building process with the bridge located on the Clarence River floodplain among cane fields and we couldn't have done it without consultation and cooperation from local farmers and the sugar cane industry.

"The project team is using 26,400 tonnes of concrete, 3,400 tonnes of asphalt and 1,700 tonnes of steel to build to bridge," he said.

The last girder is about to installed on the Shark Creek land bridge.
The last girder is about to installed on the Shark Creek land bridge.

Compared to the new bridge over the Clarence River at Harwood, this bridge is quite low, about 10.5 metres at the highest point, but has been built to ensure the highway remains open in a one in 100-year flood while allowing for improved drainage and water flow.

Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis said the bridge crosses over two local roads, ensuring local access is maintained during construction and once the highway opens. By building this bridge mostly over land, emergency services will have greater access to adjacent land during a flood or fire.

"The bridge also allows for greater movement and connectivity for wildlife, including the endangered coastal emu.

"In 2019, we can expect work to continue on building the bridge deck, installing parapets and a median barrier as well as laying asphalt for the road surface," he said.

The Australian and NSW governments are jointly funding the $4.95 billion Woolgoolga to Ballina Pacific Highway upgrade on an 80:20 basis. The upgrade will open to traffic in 2020, weather permitting.



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