The long-awaited Molonglo River Bridge is a step closer as the ACT government seeks expressions of interest for the tender to design and construct the crucial piece of infrastructure to complete the arterial connection between the new suburbs to the Molonglo Valley and the West Belconne.
The government says the detailed design phase is expected to begin in mid-2022 and take a year to complete with construction beginning soon after. The project is expected to be completed and open to traffic by the end of 2025.
The bridge project will replace the single-lane Coppins Crossing, which is often closed due to flooding, and complete the 7.2km dual carriageway John Gorton Drive from Cotter Road in the south to William Hovell Drive in the north.
The bridge will extend over 227 meters across the Molonglo River, but the project will also include 1.7 kilometers of roadway approaching the junction.
The development application was approved in February.
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The EOI document states that the project will include the design and construction of four traffic lanes, cycle paths on the road, separate dividing paths, two new signaled intersections, road and bridge lighting, stormwater management, landscaping, landscape rehabilitation in the Molonglo River Reserve and other works.
It will also be integrated with the planned Molonglo Group Center, including common footpaths, bus stops, accommodation for a future light rail stop, a pedestrian underpass, a signaled intersection and tailor-made urban planning, as well as space for a future light rail corridor.
The project will also include the establishment of fauna habitats for native wildlife, including aquatic animals.
Transport and Urban Services Minister Chris Steel said the project would create more than 500 jobs under design and construction.
“The construction of the Molonglo River Bridge and the completion of John Gorton Drive will transform the Molonglo region and better connect the northern suburbs of Molonglo, including Denman Prospect and Whitlam, to the rest of the Molonglo Valley,” he said.
Steel said the project would provide a reliable connection to Canberrans, which is currently traveling through Coppins Crossing to Woden and the West Belcon.
“This is not just a bridge construction. New arterial roads leading up to the bridge and new intersections will be built, giving access to the future Molonglo Commercial Center and the suburb of Whitlam, ”he said.
“In addition to these major infrastructure upgrades, the project also includes important active travel links with off-road common trails and bike paths en route to encourage more Canberrans to hop on a bike to get to their destination.”
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Steel said the bridge would also be important for public transportation, supporting a future light rail connection as well as up to six new bus stops and bus priority at identified intersections.
The ACT and Commonwealth governments are jointly funding the $ 176.2 million project.
ACT Senator Zed Seselja said this project will provide a major economic stimulus to the Canberra region, including creating an estimated 560 jobs in detailed design and construction phases.
“Projects like the Molonglo River Bridge are important not only to keep Canberra’s employees and businesses going, but also to provide the Canberra community with better infrastructure connections and safer roads well into the future,” said Senator Seselja.
“The Commonwealth’s $ 87.5 million contribution to this vital project is part of our $ 1.8 billion infrastructure investment in new projects across the ACT since 2018.”