Old Murray Bridge refurbishment will cause major disruption until late 2023
On the bright side, local businesses will have an opportunity to cash in on the $36 million project.
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The old Murray Bridge will be reduced to a single lane of traffic for up to 18 months after a major refurbishment begins this weekend.
The road bridge which links Murray Bridge’s east and west sides will be closed to all traffic between 8am and 4pm on Saturday and Sunday.
From its reopening until the completion of works, in late 2023, it will be one-way only, with temporary traffic lights at each end.
Work will be carried out from Monday to Saturday, but the restrictions will remain on Sundays, too.
At a Business Murray Bridge breakfast on Wednesday, DIT spokesman Dariusz Fanok said traffic barriers would be placed along the length of the 143-year-old bridge this weekend.
In time, the entire structure would be wrapped in cloth to prevent paint flecks escaping the work site, a problem several locals remembered from the last time it was painted in 1990.
The temporary traffic lights at each end of the bridge would not be automatic, Mr Fanok said.
Traffic controllers would be positioned by the bridge 24 hours per day, and assisted by technology which could detect how many vehicles were lined up on each side.
Local contractors will have an opportunity to profit
McMahon’s Ben Knoop said local businesses would have opportunities to cash in on the project, too.
The project managers were looking for local contractors to help with drainage, concrete, asphalt, heritage stonemasonry, electrical works, boilermaking, traffic control and general labouring.
A contract for blasting and painting the bridge was yet to be subbed out.
The workers would also need on-site food deliveries, catering, events, tool hire, cleaning and stationery supplies, as well as accommodation, Mr Knoop said.
Spokespeople will make themselves available to talk about the project at Murray Bridge RSL from 4.30 to 6.30pm on Thursday afternoon.
Why does the bridge need fixing?
The refurbishment project, announced in the 2021 state budget, is expected to extend the life of the road bridge by 30 years.
Without it, the bridge would have had to close to traffic within 10 years, former Infrastructure and Transport Minister Corey Wingard told Murray Bridge News last year.
It was built in 1879, and is the oldest bridge anywhere along the length of the River Murray.
The refurbishment will include:
A paint job to protect the bridge’s steelwork
Installation of LED street lighting
Repairs to one of the bridge’s piers
Reconstruction of some of the stonework at each end of the bridge
Improved pedestrian access, including partial relocation of the pipes which obstruct the walkway on the southern side of the bridge
When the project is complete, new signage will be put up to better highlight the bridge’s important place in the region’s, and colonial Australia’s, history.
In the meantime, vehicles will have to queue up along Bridge Street, on the west side, and the Old Princes Highway, on the east side, to use the bridge.
Signage will be placed on surrounding back streets, suggesting where motorists should go to avoid being stuck waiting for traffic at points such as the end of Lookout Drive, on the east side.
Additional temporary closures will be required during the course of the works.
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