Major work on the new Grafton Bridge in New South Wales has begun, with the first of five supports for the bridge being installed in the river.

Clarence Nationals MP, Chris Gulaptis, said the $240 million State Government funded project involves building a 525m long bridge 70m downstream from the existing road and rail bridge.

“The completed bridge will improve traffic efficiency between Grafton and South Grafton immediately, with the ability to be expanded to two lanes in each direction when traffic volumes require it in the future,” Mr Gulaptis said.

“The project also includes upgrading parts of the road network in Grafton and South Grafton to connect the new bridge to the existing road network.”

Mr Gulaptis said the start of land and marine piling is an exciting milestone for the project, putting the bridge well on track to meet its targeted date for opening to traffic in 2019.

“A total of 25 piles will be driven into rock for the project – ten in the river and 15 on land,” Mr Gulaptis said.

“Five river-based piers will each comprise two piles, varying in length from 21 to 26m and three metres in diameter.

“Five land-based piers will each comprise three piles, varying in length from 18 to 34m and between 1.2 and 2.1m in diameter.

“The river piles will be built from a barge using specialised equipment.”

“Since work started in November last year, the first stage of a new 30 space car park on the corner of Pound and Clarence streets has opened, the temporary jetty on the south bank of the river was completed, work has started to establish the precast yard at South Grafton and work to relevel sections of the levee system is nearly complete.

“In coming months work will start to manufacture concrete bridge segments for the bridge at the dedicated pre-cast yard in South Grafton,” Mr Gulaptis said.

“Work to re-level sections of the Grafton levee is almost complete, clearing the way for the project team to start working in the river.

“We are also making good progress on building the embankments for the bridge approaches,” Mr Gulaptis said.

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