The first segment of the new Fitzroy River Bridge deck has been launched, marking the latest milestone in rebuilding this vital link following flood damage associated with ex-Tropical Cyclone Ellie.
The bridge deck is being launched span by span with a 36-metre segment positioned every eight days until completed.
A launchpad is located on the western side of the river, on to which the deck components are being assembled, before being launched in stages. Launching the bridge deck from this side of the river means construction should not be affected by the upcoming wet season and rising water levels.
The new Fitzroy River Bridge is funded by the Australian and Western Australian Governments under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA).
This important milestone follows the installation of seven steel and concrete piers which provide structural support for the deck. Pier construction, using prefabricated concrete shells, was completed in just 49 days – an average of one pier every seven days.
Reconstruction works will also include repairs to the adjoining sections of the Great Northern Highway, which were severely eroded by flooding associated with ex-Tropical Cyclone Ellie.
Main Roads Western Australia, together with the Fitzroy Bridge Alliance, continues to work with local Traditional Owners, training and skills development agencies and other third parties to maximise opportunities for local workers and businesses, ensuring the project leaves a lasting and sustainable legacy.
To date, the project has provided over 132 local jobs, with approximately a quarter of total crew hours worked attributed to Aboriginal people. In all, $11 million has so far been committed to Aboriginal-owned businesses in the Fitzroy Valley.
You can stay up to date with the latest news on the road recovery effort by visiting Main Roads Western Australia's website.
Quotes attributed to Federal Minister for Emergency Management Murray Watt:
"It's great to see work progressing on this important project which connects the region.
"Critically for the community, the bridge construction
project is also providing employment opportunities for the local Fitzroy Valley
community, which is an
on-going, important part of recovery."
Quotes attributed to Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Catherine King:
"The Australian Government continues to maintain strong, working relationships with state and local governments, and this large-scale infrastructure project is a fantastic example of that.
"I'm pleased to see construction on this vital piece of infrastructure is on track as it will re-connect this remote part of the country with national supply chains.
"This will be vital during the upcoming wet seasons the area is all too used to."
Quotes attributed to WA Minister for Transport Rita Saffioti:
"This project has now reached the stage where critical substructure works in the river channel are now complete, which will significantly minimise the impact of rising river levels and allow the project to continue during the wet season.
"For a project of this magnitude, the progress being made is incredible and I want to thank everyone involved, particularly those from the Fitzroy Valley who are working to deliver this project for their community."
Quotes attributed to WA Minister for Emergency Services Stephen Dawson:
"The project continues the joint commitment made by the Albanese and Cook Governments to deliver genuine economic benefits that maximise local content and create job opportunities for the communities impacted by this disaster.
"Over the coming months, the local community, industry and visitors to the region will see the bridge deck make its journey from the western side of the river to the eastern embankment.
"This represents outstanding progress from the construction team, after just five months on site and nine months on from the devastation caused by the Kimberley floods."