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EOI call for Perth Bridge improvement works

A proposal for a four-lane bridge on the Princes Highway over the Shoalhaven River at Nowra has been added to Infrastructure Australia's Priority List.

The Western Australian Government has announced it will be increasing clearance on the 50-year-old Hay Street Bridge over the Mitchell Freeway, following a series of traffic-stopping truck strikes in recent years.

Plans to improve the vertical clearance of Hay Street Bridge over the Mitchell Freeway were announced with a call for expressions of interest to undertake improvement works at the bridge-strike hotspot.

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said Hay Street Bridge was a priority for government given its history of strikes by unauthorised over-height vehicles.

“The expressions of interest will help Main Roads establish an alliance contract to progress the agency’s preliminary plans for improving the bridge clearance, with a view to commence construction later this year.

“Given the complex nature of these works, as well as the location, there will be substantial impacts for road users and the wider community when works are undertaken.

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“Main Roads and its alliance partner will explore all opportunities to minimise these impacts, and will work closely with stakeholders during the development of the design and construction,” Saffioti said.

Data reveals Hay Street Bridge has been hit 20 times with nine of these strikes occurring within the past five years.

“As most Perth road users would be aware, there are very significant safety risks and traffic delays caused by unauthorised over height-vehicles hitting the Hay Street Bridge when travelling southbound on Mitchell Freeway,” Saffioti said.

“Lane closures are sometimes required to clean up resulting debris and to assess potential bridge damage. This leads to heavy traffic congestion for long periods of time, which causes frustration for all road users.”

The most recent strike occurred in August 2018 causing prolonged disruption to traffic while the clean-up and engineering assessment was undertaken.

The bridge was constructed in 1968 and complied with bridge height clearance standards of the day, however it is now considered a low height clearance structure.

Once improvement works are complete Saffioti said there will be a significant reduction to the risk of vehicle strikes.

Construction timing will depend on the outcome of the expressions of interest process, however Saffioti said works will likely start in late 2020.

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