Design work for the new Fitzroy River Bridge is progressing well, with the bridge scheduled to be operational by mid-2024.
Flooding caused by Tropical Cyclone Ellie last December and this January caused significant damage to the Fitzroy River Bridge along with 500 metres of road, cutting off access to communities east of the Fitzroy River and the East Kimberley and Northern Territory, a major agricultural region.
Along with the permanent restoration of connectivity between the east and west Kimberley, the bridge replacement project will also see significant investment into Western Australia’s economy.
Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Catherine King, said the construction is an important step to the region’s recovery.
“Reconnecting the community is an important part of recovery and the start of the work to that will allow freight to move again and reconnect supply chains,” she said.
Meanwhile, the first temporary Fitzroy River low-level crossing has opened to traffic, with construction now completed.
The crossing was constructed with more than 10,000 tonnes of rock and will initially provide access for four-wheel-drive vehicles only.
According to the Western Australian Government, access may be expanded to heavier vehicles, such as single-axle trucks, if weather conditions remain stable.
Federal Minister for Emergency Management, Murray Watt, said the second low-level crossing would provide a vital connection for the Kimberley region.
“The destruction of the Fitzroy River Bridge has isolated much of the West Kimberley and cut off the East Kimberley, a major agricultural region, from its supply centres and markets in Perth for at least five months,” he said.
“The Albanese and McGowan Governments are working together to support communities impacted by supply chain interruptions by rebuilding this low-level crossing and through a $42 million ongoing freight assistance package.”
Work will also start on a second temporary crossing suitable for higher traffic volumes and larger vehicles that are expected over the upcoming dry season.
The two-lane, temporary low-level crossing will have sealed approaches to cater for freight vehicles, caravans and campers.