The long-awaited Ellerton Drive extension project will undergo environmentally friendly changes to improve the design of the new traffic bridge being built over the Queanbeyan River.
The aim is to further minimise impacts on the local platypus population during construction. The Queanbeyan platypus population is an iconic part of the town. The population has been under threat from water rats and water pollution.
Member for Monaro John Barilaro said the bridge’s final design would minimise the impact of construction on native wildlife.
“New bridge segments will now be launched incrementally from one side of the river, reducing the impact on the waterway and the local platypus population,” Mr Barilaro said.
Permanent protection, in the form of large rocks, will be installed around the bridge piers to provide platypuses with a safe place within the Queanbeyan River.
Queanbeyan-Palerang mayor Tim Overall said the Ellerton Drive extension was progressing well and measures to reduce noise levels and protect other wildlife species already formed part of the design.
“Progress has been impressive. Works started late last year and around 95 per cent of ground clearing work has already been completed,” Cr Overall said.
The new design and construction methods comes with other benefits. Building the bridge in stages will minimise traffic disruptions on Barracks Flat Drive and improve safety for construction workers.
Earthworks will continue in the coming months and stormwater drains, fencing, wildlife crossings and noise-abatement walls will also be built. Work on the project is expected to be conclude by mid-2020.
Once the bridge and associated road works will provide an alternative route around Queanbeyan to cater for increasing traffic volumes in the region.
The new route will allow drivers to avoid up to 19 intersections and three sets of traffic lights.
The federal and state governments have each committed $25 million to fund the Ellerton Drive extension project, with the Queanbeyan council providing the remaining $36 million.
Members of the local community are invited to attend two public information sessions.
The first meeting will be held at 4pm on Thursday July 26 at the Queanbeyan Riverside Plaza and the second from 9am on Saturday July 28 at the Karabar Shopping Mall.