Fitzroy river bridge collapse, Kimberley WA

The Federal and Western Australian Governments have awarded the contract for the construction of the new Fitzroy River Bridge, located in the state’s Kimberly region.

Georgiou Group Pty Ltd, BMD Constructions Pty Ltd, and BG&E Pty Ltd have been awarded the contract. The companies will join Western Australia Main Roads to form the Fitzroy Bridge Alliance.

Western Australia Minister for Planning, Rita Saffioti, “Today’s contract award is a major milestone to reconnect the east and west Kimberley following the devastation caused by flooding associated with Ex-Tropical Cyclone Ellie.

“We know how critical this bridge is to reconnecting East and West Kimberley, which is why we fast-tracked the procurement process, with the establishment of the Fitzroy Bridge Alliance being achieved incredibly fast for a project of such size and complexity.

“Main Roads and their Alliance partners are already liaising with local stakeholders and Traditional Owners to ensure this once-in-a-generation project maximises opportunities for local suppliers and the Aboriginal community.”

The Fitzroy Bridge building works are funded through the Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.

The Alliance partners have significant experience in constructing bridges in Western Australia and have committed the resources required to commence construction activities as soon as possible. The new bridge is scheduled to be operational by mid-2024. 

In addition to the permanent restoration of connectivity between the east and west Kimberley, there are hopes that the bridge replacement project will see significant investment in the region’s economy.

Federal Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Minister, Catherine King, said, “Communities across the Kimberley are still reeling from the impacts of Ex-Tropical Cyclone Ellie, with the damage caused to vital roads and infrastructure keenly felt on a daily basis.

“The Australian Government recognises how critical national regional, rural and remote roads are to the economy and the communities of Australia.

“We also understand the devastation and isolation brought about when extreme weather impacts on these routes and the communities, freight drivers and other road users who travel them each day.

“The formation of the Fitzroy River Bridge Alliance is an important step forward as we work with these communities and the Western Australian Government to rebuild, recover and support the future resilience of transport infrastructure.”

Design work for the new bridge is in progress, with consultation with key stakeholders, including Traditional Owners.

Site works remain on track to begin in April 2023 subject to weather conditions and the resolution of environmental and heritage issues. 

Federal Minister for Emergency Management, Murray Watt, said, “These floods had a major impact on quite a remote part of Australia, and we knew from the outset that attracting the resources and personnel to undertake the rebuilding of impacted infrastructure was going to be challenging. 

“But the timely reconstruction of this bridge is critical to the entire region, the freight industry and all those businesses and communities that rely on the road network in the north of the state.

The Alliance is engaging with local suppliers, Traditional Owners, and local Aboriginal Corporations to maximise local employment and business opportunities and ensure the project is undertaken in a culturally appropriate way.

Work on constructing the first of two new low-level crossings is underway. The crossing, which is adjacent to the old Fitzroy River Crossing, will allow four-wheel-drive vehicle access across the river in early April 2023 if river conditions remain favourable.

A second, low-level, two-lane crossing 150m upstream of the old bridge, which would cater for higher traffic volumes, including freight vehicles and pedestrians, could be operational by May 2023 providing access across the river during 2023’s dry season.

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