New design for Queanbeyan River Bridge protects local platypuses

Environmentally friendly changes have been made to the design of a new traffic bridge being built over the Queanbeyan River to further minimise impacts on local platypuses during construction.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Michael McCormack said the new design for the bridge—part of the $86 million Ellerton Drive extension project—would also deliver better outcomes for the local community and for those building the bridge.

“Building the bridge in stages will minimise traffic disruptions on Barracks Flat Drive and improve worker safety,” Mr McCormack said.

“To cater for increasing traffic volumes as Queanbeyan and nearby Canberra continue to grow, the bridge and associated road works will provide an alternative route around the Queanbeyan CBD, allowing drivers to avoid up to 19 intersections and three sets of traffic lights.”

Deputy Premier and New South Wales Member for Monaro John Barilaro said the bridge’s final design would minimise the impact of the works on native wildlife.

“New bridge segments will now be launched incrementally from one side of the river, reducing the impact on the waterway and the local platypus population,” Mr Barilaro said.

“Permanent protection, in the form of large rocks, will be installed around the bridge piers to ensure platypuses breed in a safe place within the Queanbeyan River.”

Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council Mayor Tim Overall said the Ellerton Drive extension was progressing well and measures to reduce noise levels and protect other wildlife species would be part of the works.

“Progress has been impressive. Works started late last year and around 95 per cent of ground clearing work has already been completed,” Cr Overall said.

“Earthworks will continue in the coming months and stormwater drains, fencing, wildlife crossings and noise-abatement walls will also be built.”

Members of the local community are invited to attend two public information sessions on the project—the first from 4pm to 7pm on Thursday 26 July at the Queanbeyan Riverside Plaza and the second from 9am to 12pm on Saturday 28 July at the Karabar Shopping Mall.

The Australian and New South Wales governments have each committed $25 million to fund the Ellerton Drive extension project, with the Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council providing the remaining $36 million.

The project is expected to be completed by mid-2020, weather permitting.