MOTORISTS are enjoying a smoother ride across Corowa’s John Foord Bridge with the approach at the NSW end of the span upgraded as part of $400,000 worth of work.
Timber beams were replaced on the northern entrance to the bridge and new bitumen laid as part of a project that saw the bridge closed to traffic for the past six weeks.
The bridge, which crosses the Murray River and links Corowa and Wahgunyah, was reopened on Monday.
Corowa mayor Fred Longmire welcomed the improvements, which follow the decking of the bridge being replaced in 2008.
“Absolutely it’s a lot smoother and it was needed because it had deteriorated pretty badly,” Cr Longmire said.
Member for Albury Greg Aplin said the work would ensure the bridge, which first opened to traffic in 1893, would continue to be viable.
“The NSW government provided $400,000 to replace the bridge deck to extend the life of the bridge and reduce future maintenance costs,” Mr Aplin said.
“Early work started in early August, with crews working seven days a week to ensure the bridge was reopened as quickly as possible.
“Roads and Maritime thanks motorists and the local community for their patience while the work was carried out.”
The proprietor of Wahgunyah Newsagency and Caltex service station, Margaret Bromley, said the work had affected turnover, with 500 to 1000 fewer litres of fuel being sold each day.
“It was like a ghost town in terms of traffic,” Mrs Bromley said.
“It did have a big impact on us; we were probably down about 50 per cent on custom, that’s a rough guess.
“But ... more people from town were coming here instead of going around to Corowa.”
Work on the footpath alongside the bridge will continue for the next three weeks.
Mr Aplin said pedestrians would have access across the bridge but should be cautious while work is carried out on weekdays, from 7am to 5pm.