A new bridge linking the East and West Kimberley regions across the Fitzroy River has been opened six months ahead of schedule.
The new bridge took just six months to build after the old bridge that was severely damaged in the January floods was demolished in May. It was jointly funded by the Federal and WA State Governments through the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA).
The WA Government said it adopted a “fast-tracked procurement process”, which allowed the contractual processes that would normally take nine months to be completed in just eight weeks.
It was delivered by the Fitzroy Bridge Alliance, which includes Main Roads WA, construction companies Georgiou Group Pty Ltd and BMD Constructions Pty Ltd, and designer BG&E.
It said the new bridge is longer and six times stronger than the old bridge, with twice the number of steel and concrete piles driven twice as deep into the riverbed.
WA Premier Roger Cook said the loss of the bridge in the floods was a massive blow to Kimberley communities.
“To see it built back better and stronger, six months ahead of schedule, and in time for the wet season is a truly remarkable achievement,” he said.
“It is even more remarkable when you consider the remoteness of Fitzroy Crossing and the unforgiving conditions crews were faced with.
“Today’s historic reopening is a testament to the people of the Kimberley who came together to achieve this result for their communities.”
Federal Minister for Emergency Management Murray Watt said the completion of the bridge ahead of schedule was a great early Christmas present just before the wet season arrives.
“The Albanese Government and WA Cook Government were determined to get this bridge rebuilt as quickly as possible, because we know how important it is for local communities, as well as transport and supply chains,” he said.
“Critically, the bridge has been built back stronger than ever so that communities aren’t as badly impacted by future storms and floods.
“It’s great that this project has been built with meaningful input and support from the local Indigenous community, and I congratulate all those involved.”
Federal Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Minister Catherine King added, “I’m proud the Australian and Western Australian governments were able to work together to open this new bridge so quickly.
“This bridge is not just an essential piece of infrastructure, but a vital link between families, businesses and communities in the Kimberley to the rest of Western Australia and the rest of the country.”