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Tenders are now open to deliver a second bridge at East Fork to ensure safe passage for heavy vehicles travelling through the south end of the Orange CBD.

Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said the new bridge at Forest Road would duplicate the existing bridge, turning each into a one-way road and eliminating the need for heavy vehicles to cross paths.

“The Australian Government is investing $1.25 million in this project under our Bridges Renewal Programme, which is upgrading local bridges around the nation to keep regional businesses and communities connected and thriving,” Mr Chester said.

New South Wales Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey said construction of the second bridge would take about 12 months and require intermittent bridge closures.

“The end result will make travelling through Orange much safer for all drivers. We are confident we can work with the tenderer to ensure unrestricted two-way traffic will be maintained for as long as practical during construction and keep the full closure of the bridge down to the minimum number of days,” Mrs Pavey said.

Federal Member for Calare Andrew Gee said at present, the existing two-way bridge could not safely support two heavy vehicles trying to turn into the tight bend, risking crashes and blockages along the south entry to the CBD.

“The new bridge will make it much easier for large transport vehicles to travel through Orange, better supporting business in the region, while increasing driver safety,” Mr Gee said.

Orange Mayor John Davis said signage would be in place during construction, while regular media alerts and social media notifications would keep people informed of detour routes and closure of the bridge. 

“Additionally, main users of the road such as Orange Health Service and Cadia Valley Operations will be notified of during traffic diversions. Pedestrians will be able to cross the existing bridge while it remains open,” Cr Davis said.

Work is expected to begin in late September after tenders close on Wednesday 9 August 2017.  The $2.5 million project, managed by Orange City Council, has received $1.25 million under the Australian Government’s Bridges Renewal Programme and $1.25 million under the NSW Government’s Restart NSW Fixing Country Roads program.