The New Fitzroy River Bridge in Western Australia is now officially open to traffic, as construction is complete six months ahead of schedule.
The New Fitzroy River Bridge in Western Australia’s Kimberley region has officially opened to traffic, more than six months ahead of schedule.
The completion of the project marks the official reconnection of East and West Kimberley, after the old Fitzroy River Bridge was irreparably damaged in the historic Kimberley floods in January.
The new bridge’s reconstruction was jointly funded by the Australian and Western Australian Governments through the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA).
The speed of the bridge rebuild was unprecedented in Western Australia, with demolition of the old bridge only occurring in May.
“Losing the Fitzroy River Bridge in January’s devastating floods was a massive blow to communities in the Kimberley, who rely on this vital artery for freight, transport and connection,” says WA Premier Roger Cook.
“To see it built back better and stronger, six months ahead of schedule, and in time for the wet season is a truly remarkable achievement,” says WA Premier Roger Cook.
This rate of progress was made possible due to a high level of collaboration with key suppliers and contractors to ensure components such as bridge beams, bearings and concrete were made available at the time they were required and installed in an efficient, but safe manner.
The State Government also undertook a fast-tracked procurement process, which saw contracts awarded in around eight weeks, a process which normally takes up to nine months.
“The completion of the New Fitzroy River Bridge ahead of schedule is a great early Christmas present as the wet season kicks into gear,” says Federal Minister for Emergency Management Murray Watt.
“The Albanese Government and WA Cook Government were determined to get this bridge rebuilt as quickly as possible, because we know how important it is for local communities, as well as transport and supply chains. Critically, the bridge has been built back stronger than ever so that communities aren’t as badly impacted by future storms and floods,” says Federal Minister for Emergency Management Murray Watt.
“It’s great that this project has been built with meaningful input and support from the local Indigenous community, and I congratulate all those involved,” says Federal Minister for Emergency Management Murray Watt.
The new bridge is six times stronger than the old bridge. It contains twice the number of steel and concrete piles, driven twice as deep into the riverbed. It is also significantly longer than the old bridge and has a lane in each direction. This will ensure the bridge will be more resilient to flood events in the future.
The project has been delivered by the Fitzroy Bridge Alliance, comprising of Main Roads WA, construction companies Georgiou Group Pty Ltd and BMD Constructions Pty Ltd as well as designer BG&E.
“The New Fitzroy River Bridge is a vital piece of infrastructure for north-west Australia. I’m proud the Australian and Western Australian governments were able to work together to open this new bridge so quickly,” says Federal Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Minister Catherine King.
“This bridge is not just an essential piece of infrastructure, but a vital link between families, businesses and communities in the Kimberley to the rest of Western Australia and the rest of the country,” says Federal Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Minister Catherine King.
Throughout the construction, the State Government and its alliance partners have maintained road connection through the delivery of a number of low-level crossings, ensuring critical freight could be transported, and support for the tourism industry.
“I was on the ground when the old bridge was demolished seven months ago, and to see a bigger and better bridge constructed in its place and now open to traffic is an achievement everyone involved can be proud of,” says WA Deputy Premier and Minister for Transport Rita Saffioti.
“Right from the start – we recognised how important it was to deliver this new bridge as quickly as possible – and throughout we have sought to expedite delivery and construction as much as possible,” says WA Deputy Premier and Minister for Transport Rita Saffioti.
“Whether it be squeezing a typical nine-month procurement process into eight weeks, suppliers prioritising materials, or employing local people and businesses on the project – everyone has jumped on board to get this bridge built as quickly as possible” says WA Deputy Premier and Minister for Transport Rita Saffioti.
Importantly, the project also delivered significant outcomes for the local community.
More than 240 locals have been employed on the project, a quarter of total construction hours are attributed to Aboriginal people and 26 Aboriginal-owned businesses were awarded contracts associated with this project.
“Completion of the construction of the new Fitzroy River Bridge is not only a significant milestone in the Kimberley floods recovery process but one that will provide greater certainty to communities in the region ahead of this year’s wet season,” says WA Minister for Emergency Services Stephen Dawson.
“The collective achievement of the project team in partnership with the local community, businesses and workforce to deliver this critical piece of road infrastructure well ahead of schedule is to be commended,” says WA Minister for Emergency Services Stephen Dawson.
With the bridge now opened, Main Roads WA and the Fitzroy Bridge Alliance are working with other State Government agencies to identify ongoing business and employment opportunities for locals who have developed skills and business capacity as a result of the bridge build.
The New Fitzroy River Bridge is a vital piece of infrastructure for North-West Australia. Its construction now provides certainty to businesses and communities that rely on the road network to travel and receive goods.
Image Source: © Government of Western Australia 2017 to 2023
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