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Port Augusta bridge duplication project nears completion

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The duplication of the Joy Baluch AM Bridge in Port Augusta will be completed in the third week of March, with the official opening celebration taking place today.

The construction of a second bridge to connect South Australia’s east-west and north-south freight routes was advocated by the South Australian Chamber of Mines & Energy (SACOME), the South Australian Freight Council (SAFC) and the Royal Automobile Association (RAA).

SACOME Director of Strategic Policy Communications Naomi Marsh said that the construction of a new bridge has been a priority for the industry body for several years.

“Port Augusta is a hub for South Australia’s mineral-rich far north and western regions, and the duplication of the bridge will improve road safety and efficiency for all users, improve freight productivity and importantly improve the resilience of this critical road link,” she said.

“It will also support the projected growth of the resources sector as well as benefit agriculture, tourism, defence, and the broader community.”

The Joy Baluch AM Bridge Duplication Project will be delivered by the Department of Planning Transport and Infrastructure’s Port Wakefield to Port Augusta Alliance.

The project received a joint commitment of $200 million from the State and Federal governments in 2018. Construction of the bridge began in late 2020 and is expected to be completed later this year.

Marsh said that the new bridge will be used by 9,000 vehicles carrying around 15 million tonnes of freight each year.

“It is the only direct, all-weather link for vehicles traversing the Spencer Gulf and supports the local resources to agriculture, tourism, and defence sectors,” she said.

The official opening of the bridge will take place today at 6:30pm and be followed by a parade featuring members of the Port Augusta Vehicle Restorers Club, local school students and roving performers.

The public is then invited to walk across the new bridge. The celebration will also include food trucks, free hot dogs and ice cream, and family-friendly entertainment.

The bridge project will also include the refurbishment of the existing Joy Baluch AM Bridge, named after former Port Augusta Mayor Nancy Joy Baluch AM and which has been closed to traffic since May 2022.

Night works on the existing bridge will be undertaken intermittently from Wednesday 8 March 2023 to mid-April 2023, weather permitting.

Stage 1 of the Duplication Project will commence this month and will focus on road sealing, kerb and gutter works and the completion of shared use paths.

During Stage 1, both bridges will be restricted to a single one-directional lane in each direction for traffic coming from the Augusta Highway.

Mackay Street will be closed to traffic from Augusta Highway and drivers will have to take a detour via Flinders Terrace and Young Street. There will also be no right turn from Augusta Highway into Burgoyne Street, with traffic being directed to detour via Mildred Street. Access to local businesses will also be restricted.

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