The largest transport infrastructure project ever seen in northern Victoria and southern New South Wales, as it has been called, is now open.
Months ahead of schedule, the Echuca-Moama Bridge Project opened to traffic this week.
After more than 140 years with a single Murray River crossing, freight operators and commuters between the border towns can now access a river crossing connecting the Murray Valley Highway in Echuca, Victoria, with the Cobb Highway in Moama, New South Wales.
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said the completion of the project over the Campaspe and Murray rivers will improve traffic flow and slash operating costs for the freight industry by supporting heavy and oversize vehicles restricted from using the existing Murray River Bridge.
“Projects like this will drive our economy into the future by supporting the industries that produce and sell the products that make our nation wealthier and stronger,” said Joyce.
“This is what the Nationals are about – delivering the projects that our regions need, to make them and our nation as strong as possible as quickly as possible,” he said.
“We put the money on the table for the new Echuca-Moama Bridge Project, and now we’ve delivered the biggest transport infrastructure project this region has ever seen.
“This is a once-in-a-generation project that will transform this region, keeping commuters moving and freight flowing to our ports, helping our nation get paid for the products we produce.”
The new river crossing is anticipated to reduce traffic across the existing Murray River Bridge by about 40 per cent or 10,000 vehicles per day.
Federal Member for Nicholls Damian Drum said the new river crossing will transform travel in the region, offering the border towns a second crossing after 140 years of connection by a single Murray River Bridge.
“This project has provided a significant boost to the local economy, supporting more than 400 direct jobs and up to 1,100 indirect jobs, with many local businesses and suppliers employed to provide ongoing services,” he said.
Federal Member for Farrer Sussan Ley said the long-awaited second Murray crossing complements a string of projects underway or completed on both sides of the border, each moving forward with funding from the Federal Government.
“From upgrades along the Newell Highway, work towards another new crossing at Swan Hill-Murray Downs, to local Roads to Recovery and black spot funding including a number of Heavy Vehicle safety projects,” said Ley.
“The Australian Government continues to invest in, and deliver, the road infrastructure which matters to our communities, businesses, freight operators and the tourism sector.”
The $323.7 million Echuca-Moama Bridge Project was jointly funded by the Australian, Victorian and New South Wales Governments.
A $20 million upgrade of the Murray Valley Highway upgrade between Echuca and Yarrawonga, jointly funded by the Australia and Victorian Governments, opened in mid-2021.
The new Murray River crossing will be known as Dhungala Bridge and the new Campaspe River crossing will be called Yakoa Bridge – with Dhungala and Yakoa the respective names in Yorta Yorta language for the Murray and Campaspe rivers.