Willow Vale bridge officially opened

A bridge for the future: Wollondilly MP Jai Rowell and mayor Ken Halstead agreed the design of the now officially-opened Willow Vale bridge would see it last for years to come.

A bridge for the future: Wollondilly MP Jai Rowell and mayor Ken Halstead agreed the design of the now officially-opened Willow Vale bridge would see it last for years to come.

It wasn’t without its difficulties, but a project to ensure better access and greater safety at a Willow Vale intersection is now complete.

Although the upgraded concrete railway bridge, realigned intersection and traffic lights have been in use since March, an official opening was held to mark the end of the project.

The infrastructure project was the result of co-operation between multiple agencies, and a joint project of the state government and council.

A council spokesman said throughout the design and construction process, several features were incorporated to ensure the safety of Willow Vale and Balaclava residents, and all those making use of the upgraded intersection.

These include the stop line being set back 12 metres, more than twice the normal distance. The asphalt uses a high friction finish, a finish that helps to reduce skidding. The traffic lights were positioned to provide advance warning, viewed from over the crest of the bridge.

“The bridge designer trialled several construction options and found the arch [shape] provided the clearance required and enabled the best approach grade from the highway,” he said.

As an extra precaution and to further reduce the grade, council extended the crossfall of the highway up to lift the outer lane edge.

The revised position of the bridge, which was constructed to align with Crimea Crescent, also reduces the risk of black ice on the road.

While some trees overshadowed part of the old bridge, where necessary trees have been removed nearby the new bridge to help prevent black ice from forming under their canopy.

Wollondilly MP Jai Rowell said the old bridge was not appropriate for pedestrians, an issue the new bridge was designed to address.

“The old bridge was more than 100 years old and was falling apart. What’s particularly great about this design is that pedestrians now have safe foot access on both sides of the bridge,” he said.

Mayor Ken Halstead thanked the council staff involved in the project, contractors and the Roads and Maritime Service for helping to provide a finished project that would service the needs of Highlanders for years to come.

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