After some menial preparation tasks, the ‘heavy lifting’ for the Nepean River Green Bridge has finally begun.
Seymour Whyte Constructions began to build the piling foundations on Monday for the bridge’s two permanent abutments that will be responsible of holding a whopping 600 tonnes of steel.
Member for Penrith Stuart Ayres turned the first sod for the project he committed to in 2010, that is to be open and ready for use by the middle of 2018.
“People will be able to walk over the bridge between Penrith and Emu Plains and actually be able to see the river for the first time in 150 years,” he said.
Mr Ayres said the abutments will be some of the largest on any pedestrian bridge in the country, and are designed to be able to be integrated into future development on the Penrith side of the river.
The $49 million project is double what was originally allocated by the NSW Government for the bridge, and Mr Ayres said the extra $25 million will be spread out over two budgets.
“We are a government that has run a disciplined budget, we’ve got the capacity to absorb increased costs when they’re required,” he said.
“This bridge is being built for the price it costs to build it. It’s been a very complicated project and we’ve learnt a lot along the way.
“You can do as much early work as possible but the true cost is when you get to market and you see what people can build things for.”
Seymour Whyte’s Project Manager, Greg Anderson, said they offered the best value for money to achieve the NSW Government’s vision for a bridge.
“The budget was hard to meet but ours was the closest, and we went through a phase with RMS looking for further innovative savings,” he said.
Around 60 men and women will be working on the project at its peak to build the largest span pedestrian bridge of its kind.
“It’s a challenging construction, it’s not a run-of-the-mill but we’ve got some highly skilled contractors on board,” Mr Anderson said.
The bridge will have three spans incrementally launched over two piers, with the first span landing in February 2017.