The new Echuca-Moama Bridge Project opened to traffic on April 11, creating a second Murray River crossing between Victoria and New South Wales after 140 years.
The existing Murray River iron bridge was completed in December 1878 and was the first to span the Murray River. A rail bridge was later constructed over the river in 1989.
The new bridge project links the Murray Valley Highway and Warren Street at Echuca, Victoria with the Cobb Highway at Perricoota Road in Moama, New South Wales. Apart from creating a safer passage for traffic, it also provides a separate 4.9-kilometre bridge for pedestrian and cyclists.
The project consists of two river bridges, one over the Murray River and another over the Campaspe River in Echuca. The new Murray River crossing will be known as Dhungala Bridge and the new Campaspe River crossing will be called Yakoa Bridge – with Dhungala and Yakoa the respective names in Yorta Yorta language for the Murray and Campaspe rivers.
Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation, Moama Local Aboriginal Land Council and Cummeragunja Local Aboriginal Land Council collaborated to name the Dhungala Bridge with Yorta Yorta Nation endorsing the name for the new Campaspe River crossing.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Barnaby Joyce said the completion of the project would transform the movement of freight through the region.
“Projects like this will drive our economy into the future by supporting the industries that produce and sell the products that make our nation wealthier and stronger,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.
It’s expected 10,000 vehicles will use the new river crossing every day, reducing traffic on the existing Murray River bridge by about 40 per cent – a reduction that will considerably ease peak hour congestion for people travelling between Echuca and Moama.
With the combined population of Echuca-Moama expected to grow by around 20 per cent by 2031, this second river crossing will cater for the growth across both towns.
Construction for the Echuca-Moama Bridge Project started in late 2017 with the Australian Government contributing $125.7 million, the Victorian Government $111 million and the New South Wales Government $87 million.
While Winslow Construction had completed the second stage of the project in November 2019, the major works package, including the construction of both bridges, was carried out by Major Road Projects Victoria and construction partner McConnell Dowell.
More than 400 direct jobs and up to 1,100 indirect jobs were created during the project, with many local businesses and suppliers employed to provide ongoing services.
Stage four of the project, which will upgrade the intersections to the Cobb Highway, Meninya Street and Perricoota Road intersection, is currently under construction and is being delivered by Transport for NSW. Excell Gray Bruni was awarded the contract to build stage four.