The opening of the Avon Bridge meant a lot to the community – and the large crowd that attended the official opening on the weekend, demonstrated this.
Northam Shire councillor Chris Antonio and wife Nicki never miss a historic opening.
“Every official opening like this in town is important – it is really good to be part of the start of it,” he said.
“You can say to your kids and your grandkids, ‘when this opened, we were here’.
“The bridge looks great so why not be part of it.”
Chris and Nicki walked along the Great Eastern Highway bypass when it opened.
“We took the kids and had them in the pram,” said Nicki. “We took the grandparents too – it was a family gathering.” The couple did the same with the Graham Farmer Freeway.
“There was a one day chance to actually walk through it,” said Chris.
Chris and Nicki said the bridge opening will cut their travel time around the town.
“When you’re coming back from Perth, or want to go to the Post Office or Shire – or businesess up this end, it makes it a lot quicker,” said Chris.
Northam Police sergeant Russell Cowie said the bridge opening will help local police.
“If something happened on the other side of the bridge, we had to go through town to get there,” he said.
“This is going to be a more streamlined access to respond to crime.”
Sgt Cowie said it will also be a positive for Northam.
“It brings the main bridge back into Northam, which brings the flow of traffic into the main CBD,” he said.
“It is going to be really important to the growth of the town.”
The refurbishment works included widening of traffic lanes, a new wider footpath, upgrading the guardrail, replacement of the bridge deck and strengthening works.
The Avon Bridge was built in 1940 and is used by an average of 5,600 vehicles per day.
Local Labor MLC Darren West said the refurbishment had been very thorough and was pleased that the WA Government had invested in the local infrastructure project.