Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the early completion of the bridge was a win for the Batemans Bay community.
“Travelling to and accessing the beautiful South Coast is about to improve, providing an economic boost to our communities, and delivering a much-needed new link for the entire region,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“Previously, the new bridge was expected to open by the middle of the year but the project has powered ahead despite the impacts of bushfires and COVID-19.
“The project has employed around 1000 people so far and nearly half of them are local to this area.”
Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole welcomed the early bridge opening saying it was another demonstration of the NSW Government’s commitment to safer and stronger regions that the work to complete the bridge was able to be accelerated ensuring it could open to traffic before the holidays.
“The benefits of the new bridge include fewer supports in the river, safer navigation and better connections in and around Batemans Bay for motorists, freight, river users, pedestrians and cyclists,” Mr Toole said.
“The two lanes on the western side of the $274 million project will be the first to open, operating initially with one lane in each direction.”
Member for Bega Andrew Constance said the project has created a safer and more efficient crossing over the Clyde River, particularly for emergency services.
“To be ahead of schedule and have the bridge open to traffic for the Easter school holidays is fantastic news for visitors and locals,” Mr Constance said.
“One of the real dividends of this bridge project is that the NSW Government’s Infrastructure Skills Legacy Program has provided improved opportunities for groups typically under-represented in construction. Around nine per cent of workers are female, 14 per cent are under 25 and more than 15 per cent are Aboriginal.”
Princes Highway northbound traffic will move onto the new bridge first, followed by southbound traffic a few hours later and the three metre pedestrian and cyclist path a few days after that.
Removal of the existing bridge will start within three days of the new bridge opening to two lanes of traffic.
Ramps and steps are continuing to be built to connect the bridge to the foreshore and the existing pedestrian network, and new fishing and viewing platforms will provide better amenity for recreational fishing and views of the area when the project is complete.
Old Punt Road will be widened and connected with Wharf Road under the bridge in the next stage of the project to improve access to the northern foreshore, and the Kings and Princes highway intersection upgrades will improve traffic flow.
The new bridge height allows uninterrupted access for boats requiring up to 12 metres height clearance at Mean High Water Spring.
Find out more information about the new Batemans Bay Bridge project.