Cyclists will be the first to breath a sigh of relief at the news that a temporary crossing attached to the side of Raleigh Bridge will be open to the public tomorrow (Saturday).
A Roads and Maritime Spokesperson said the installation for pedestrians and cyclists was part of the 12 month $3.3 million project to repaint the historic bridge, which has been closed to traffic since June 25.
“Repainting the heritage-listed Raleigh Bridge is essential to ensure it continues servicing the community for decades to come,” the spokesperson said.
“The temporary crossing is nearing completion and will be available for the public to use from Saturday.”
The walkway will be 1.2m wide and capable of carrying up to four people at a time.
Cyclists will need to dismount before using the walkway.
The spokesperson said the walkway would need to be moved three times, approximately once every three months, to allow work to proceed.
“This is expected to take one week each time and the walkway will be closed while this takes place.”
The project team has also spoken to local businesses in an effort to improve directional signage while the bridge is closed.
A previous Pacific Highway asset handover saw the Raleigh Bridge remain with the responsibility of the Roads and Maritime Services.
Bellingen Shire General Manager, Liz Jeremy, said the council would never have the funds to maintain such a major piece of infrastructure.
“Assets like that need to remain with the RMS – this is what is being discussed with current highway handover negotiations,” Mrs Jeremy said.
Background: A bridge too far
The community is advised to follow the signs and traffic control, and not enter the work area.
Motorists are asked to exercise caution around cyclists on the Pacific Highway while the temporary walkway is completed.
Drivers who pass a bicycle rider must allow a distance of at least 1.5 metres when the speed limit is more than 60km/h.
“All road users have a right to safety on our roads and leaving a safe passing distance protects riders, including situations when they may not realise a vehicle is approaching them from behind.”