A wider and stronger new $2,850,264 Franklin Bridge has been officially opened at Scotchmans Lead.
The new concrete structure replaces the former one-lane bridge, estimated to be built in 1914, spanning the Yarrowee River between Buninyong and Napoleons. The Franklin Bridge sits on the boundary between the City of Ballarat and Golden Plains Shire municipalities.
Construction of the 40m bridge began in June 2020 and was completed in late 2020, when it opened to traffic. The official opening was postponed until now due to COVID restrictions.
The new bridge is a three-way partnership between the Federal Government, the City of Ballarat, and the Golden Plains Shire. The Federal Government’s Department of Infrastructure Bridge Renewal Program provided $1,425,132 in funding, the City of Ballarat contributed $912,490 and the Golden Plains Shire provided $512,642.
The City of Ballarat led the construction project which features concrete supports, pre-cast concrete beams and a concrete deck. Melbourne’s Ace Contractors Group was awarded the tender after a competitive tender process.
The new bridge is wider than the previous bridge – providing two lanes for traffic which improves road safety. Previously some emergency services were forced to detour around the bridge due to its limited 10 tonne load limit, which increased their response times. The new bridge caters to a 150 tonne load allowing emergency services to take a more direct route.
City of Ballarat Mayor, Cr Daniel Moloney said replacement of the ageing infrastructure is the result of a fantastic partnership between the Federal Government, the City of Ballarat, and the Golden Plains Shire to deliver a new, safer bridge for the local communities.
“The old bridge was more than 100 years old and nearing the end of its life,” he said.
“This new bridge will last for at least the next 100 years and will improve road safety for motorists while also enabling heavy vehicles, such as emergency service vehicles, to take the fastest route to their destination.”
Golden Plains Shire Mayor, Cr Gavin Gamble said the new Franklin Bridge is a much improved connection between Ballarat and Golden Plains and thanked the City of Ballarat and Federal Government for working together to deliver the project.
“Many Golden Plains residents regularly travel from our northern towns into Ballarat and the new Franklin Bridge makes that journey safer for our residents,” he said.
“For our local fire brigades, with heavier, bigger trucks it allows for faster more direct access in an emergency; and for our local school children, the new bridge provides a shorter, safer ride home.”
Source: City of Ballarat