Edwards Bridge in South Warrnambool has been officially opened, re-establishing an important crossing over the Merri River and making it easier for everyone to enjoy the foreshore precinct.
The $4.6 million project is a partnership between the Australian Government and the Warrnambool City Council, with Council receiving a contribution of up to $2 million from the Australian Government under the Bridges Renewal Program.
Work began in February to fully replace the existing timber bridge, which was built in the late 1800s and has reached the end of its useable lifespan.
The new bridge retains the character of the old with the side railings reminiscent of the previous structure, and a “wood grain” stencil has been used on the concrete footpath.
Safety for pedestrians and bike riders has been improved, with the new bridge having pedestrian walkways on both sides along with on-road bike lanes.
The new bridge also means that the 15 tonne load limit has been removed. Due to the iconic Norfolk Pines on Pertobe Road, Stanley Street and Edwards Bridge represent the only way many heavy vehicles can access the port.
Federal Labor Senator for Victoria Raff Ciccone said the Albanese Government is committed to supporting regional communities.
“The Bridges Renewal Program is essential to ensuring motorists can travel safely in regional Australia,” he said.
“Opening Edwards Bridge shows how the Australian Government and local governments can work together to deliver important projects in Victoria.”
Warrnambool Mayor Debbie Arnott thanked the Australian Government for its support and the Warrnambool community for their understanding while this important project was carried out.
“Projects of this scale are very difficult for local councils to deliver without support from higher levels of government,” she said.
“I’d like to acknowledge the Australian Government’s significant contribution to this project and we look forward to continuing to work together on more projects in the future to make Warrnambool a better place to live, work and visit.
“We know how important of a transport link this bridge is for so many people, and I’d like to thank everyone, especially the South Warrnambool residents, for their patience while the upgrade was under way.
“With proper maintenance, we expect the new bridge to still be going strong well into the 22nd century.”