Port Augusta’s $200 million Joy Baluch Bridge duplication has officially opened after more than two years of construction.
As night and day roadworks continue until mid-April, drivers can use a single lane from each side of the bridge with a speed limit of 40 kilometres per hour.
Dual lanes will be accessible when the project is completed.
The new bridge has been constructed adjacent to the existing two-lane Joy Baluch Bridge and enables two lanes of traffic to flow in both directions.
Port Augusta Mayor Linley Shine said the community had been waiting patiently for the infrastructure upgrade.
“When it was a single-lane bridge, it was very challenging especially when it is one of the major routes across Australia,” Ms Shine said.
“The amount of trucks and transport across the bridge has always been heavy.”
- Duplicating the original bridge enables two lanes of traffic to flow in both directions
- Port Augusta’s mayor says its construction improves safety and allows better traffic movement during emergencies
- To celebrate the opening, school students, clubs and performers crossed the bridge
Ms Shine said emergency situations added extra traffic stress on the bridge.
“It’s always a challenge when emergency vehicles need to cross, and when there was an accident on or near the bridge then it created bottlenecks,” she said.
“Our emergency services can now cross safely and quickly, and freight can move from one side to the other with ease.”
Ms Shine said the bridge’s opening was “absolutely wonderful”.
“This will mean a much safer bridge for our cyclists, people who use mobility scooters, and dog walkers,” she said.
The opening ceremony included a community march where school students, motorcycle clubs, and roving performers crossed the bridge.
An ‘icon’ for the upper Spencer Gulf
Minister for Regional Roads Geoff Brock said the bridge’s opening was a great milestone for the project.
“We are another step closer to the completion of this project and this will be the first time both spans of the bridge are in use,” Mr Brock said.
“The duplicated Joy Baluch Bridge will be an icon for the upper Spencer Gulf and it will mean no more detours and will keep this crossing open for everyone.”
He said the duplication would allow better solutions during emergencies.
“With two lanes either way on two separate structures, we can divert traffic if we need to so that traffic is always moving,” he said.
“It will remove the need to use Yorkeys Crossing as an alternative.”
Port Wakefield to Port Augusta (P2P) Alliance general manager Dallas Keane said the final stages of construction would take about six more weeks.
“This allows us to open up the central median islands and do the final completion works,” he said.
“This is the first time new traffic will be able to go over the existing Joy Baluch Bridge, which has been upgraded to the modern standard.
“We’re really proud of the work that we’ve done and that we’ve been able to complete it in this time frame.”
Source: ABC News