Breaking News:

Decommissioning starts on Great Western Bridge

Works to remove the closed Great Western Bridge are set to begin, following the completion of the Joy Baluch AM Bridge Duplication project.

The Great Western Bridge, first built in Port Augusta in 1927, was closed to the public in 2017 due to safety concerns over the bridge’s condition – with an engineering report finding the structure of the timber bridge was failing and it had become unsafe for public use.

Significant deterioration of the 120 bridge piles and 1000 deck planks has resulted in the Port Augusta City Council electing to engage the Department for Infrastructure and Transport to demolish the structure, as investigations found it was not practically or economically viable to restore the bridge.

Removing the bridge will also provide greater access and safer passage for recreational boating in the area. Currently it is not safe for boats to pass under the unstable bridge, and its removal will allow for watercraft to pass unhindered further up the Spencer Gulf.

The bridge, originally used for vehicles to cross the gulf before becoming a pedestrian walkway and recreational fishing spot from 1972, has now been replaced by improved shared use paths across the newly duplicated Joy Baluch AM Bridge.

Works on the Great Western Bridge will include cutting the bridge’s piles to seabed level and removal of timber abutments at each end of the bridge.

The boat ramp off Burgoyne Street will be temporarily closed as part of the project, with an alternative launch site for boats at Camp Point Beach. Carpenters Landing Public Boat Ramp, at La France Terrace, will remain open.

A site office will be established on the corner of Burgoyne and Mellor Streets, resulting in traffic restrictions in the area to ensure worker and community safety.

Access may also be temporarily impacted during the works – property owners, residents and businesses will be notified in advance, if affected.

The bridge’s removal is expected to be complete in late 2024.

The possibility of retaining some piers to create an artificial reef has been explored, however council-led investigations found this would be a hazard and likely be eroded away by tidal flow. Port Augusta City Council continues to look at other options for a possible artificial reef.