Horsham’s Wimmera River pedestrian bridge ready to open

HORSHAM’S $1.2-million Wimmera River pedestrian bridge will open to the public on Friday after about two years of work.

Council turned the first sod for the Anzac Centenary Bridge in November 2015, with construction officially starting early the next year.

The structure was due to be completed early this year. However heavy rain, concerns about steel quality, and a labour supply issue contributed to delays.

The bridge suffered another setback after firm J and R Industries went into administration in May.

Horsham Rural City Council then took over full-time construction management for the project.

The footbridge connects Horsham’s Apex Island with the river bank along Major Mitchell Drive.

Project manager Jess Leslie said a huge amount of work went into the structure.

“J and R started at the site in February 2016. When they went into administration, we pretty much took over everything, from counting nuts and bolts, to ordering handrails and balustrades, and co-ordinating for work to be done,” she said.

“About 40 per cent of the bolts were in at that stage, so it was pretty minimal.

Take a walk over the Wimmera River pedestrian bridge.

Take a walk over the Wimmera River pedestrian bridge.

“We had to come through and firstly install a safety line that we could harness to, then put in the bolts.

“That was a hard job in itself because a lot of the frames were a bit warped.

“We still had some footings to pour. We also had an issue with one of the cables having a twist in it, so we had to find a specialised contractor that could safely remove the cable and sort that out.

“Once that was done, we could really get rolling with putting balustrades and decking on.”

Mrs Leslie said adjusting the bridge to the correct shape was a key construction component.

“For a while the middle was too flat and the ends were too high, so there was a fair bit of adjusting everything to get to the right shape so the bridge functions as it’s meant to,” she said.

Mrs Leslie said it was brilliant to see the bridge finished.

“It’s quite an impressive structure. I think many people are surprised with how good it looks,” she said.

“We’ve had people looking through the fence most days and asking when it will be finished.”

Mrs Leslie said the bridge would be officially opened before the end of the year.