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Saturday, July 24, 2021

Commonwealth Avenue Bridge a priority for the Federal Government

The Federal Government has identified the $137 million upgrade of the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge as one of 44 new priorities this year. It is on Infrastructure Australia’s list of nationally significant infrastructure needs, released today.

The bridge is one of the busiest transport assets in Canberra. Opened in 1963, it reached peak traffic capacity in 2017. The bridge is ageing, and has not been significantly upgraded since it was built 50 years ago.

In January, the Federal Government announced it would commit $137 million to extending the life of the bridge by another 50 years.

The government will strengthen and widen the bridge; increase its load-bearing capacity; upgrade vehicle and safety barriers; and widen transport lanes for pedestrians and cyclists.

Michael McCormack, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, said in January this upgrade was a big win for Canberra.

Senator for the ACT Zed Seselja said the funding for the bridge upgrade would significantly improve safety for motorists and pedestrians alike.

“It is infrastructure projects such as these that make a real difference for the day to day lives of Canberrans and of course for local jobs and the economy at this vital time, which is why we are pleased to confirm federal funding will flow.”

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the ACT Government welcomed the Commonwealth commitment, which would ensure the bridge would remain a critical piece of the city’s transport infrastructure for decades.

The construction project is expected to create more than 7,000 jobs.

The bridge forms part of the corridor for the planned extension of the Canberra Metro light rail network, which could include a separate structure between the spans.

The Federal Government this week announced it would invest $132.5 million in the light rail project.

Construction work on the next phase, stage 2A from Civic to Commonwealth Bridge, is expected to take two years. As part of the work, London Circuit will be raised to the level of Commonwealth Avenue, returning the road to the way it used to be before the bridge was built.

Chris Steel, Minister for Transport, said the Federal and ACT Governments would co-ordinate the bridge and light rail projects to minimise disruptions to traffic.

The $137 million investment in Commonwealth Avenue Bridge is part of more than $1.3 billion in new investments the Federal Government has announced in the ACT in recent years. Infrastructure Australia is the Government’s national infrastructure advisory body; it assesses business cases for major projects seeking Australian Government funding, and maintains the Infrastructure Priority List to inform future government and private sector investment decisions.

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