Sunday 3 January 2016

Macarthur Bridge, Camden. NSW

Macarthur Bridge 

Nepean River Crossing,
Camden Bypass, Camden. NSW

Macarthur Bridge view from Nepean River floodplain c2015 (I Willis)

History and Description
The Macarthur Bridge is a 26-span, 3380 feet (approximately 1.12 km) long concrete structure that carries the Camden Bypass across the Nepean River and its flood plain. The bridge was built between 1971 and 1973, originally to carry Hume Highway traffic, on a flood-free alignment around Camden.

The bridge was an important piece of economic and social infrastructure for the local area. The new bridge allowed the diversion of coal trucks from the Burragorang Valley coalfields  away from Camden's main street from 1973. Coal trucks then travelled along Druitt Lane and over the Macarthur Bridge to the Glenlee Washery at Spring Farm. These events also co-incided with the 1973 Three Cities Plan for the region which planned for major urban growth for the area.

The bridge has become an important piece of engineering heritage in the local area.

In 2002 the NSW Minister for Transport replied to a question from Dr Elizabeth Kernohan, Member for Camden, about the bridge. The Minister stated
I am advised that Macarthur Bridge was built in the early 1970's on the basis that most of the long distance traffic would use the F5. I am advised that the primary function of the Macarthur Bridge was for use as a flood relief route. It was built parallel to the Cowpasture Bridge at Camden to take the full traffic load when the Cowpasture Bridge is impassable.
I am advised by the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) that the bridge referred to was not specifically designed to be widened at a later date. (NSW Parliament, 8 May 2002)
The Camden Bypass
The Camden Bypass is the former Hume Highway alignment between the localities of Cross Roads and Camden. It is marked as State Route 89. The proper route is from Cross Roads, skirting Camden via the Camden Bypass and ending at Remembrance Drive, another part of the former Hume Highway near Camden South.

The  Camden Bypass was in turn bypassed in December 1980 when the section of what was then called the South Western Freeway (route F5) from Campbelltown to Yerrinbool was opened. It has grown in importance as a major arterial road linking the Hume Motorway, WestLink M7 and M5 South Western Motorway interchange at Prestons, near Liverpool, with Camden.

Macarthur Bridge approaches from southern end at Camden South c.2006 (
Open to traffic and construction details  
The official plaque on the bridge states:
Macarthur Bridge.
The bridge was designed by the staff of the Department of Main Roads and is the longest structure built by the Department since its inception in 1925. Length (Overall) 3380 feet comprising 26 spans each of 130 feet long. Width between kerbs 30 feet with one footway 5 feet wide. Piled foundations (max 90 feet deep) were constructed by the Department's Bridge construction organisation. Piers and superstructure by contact by John Holland (Constructions) Pty Ltd. Total cost of bridge £2,600,000.
RJS Thomas Commissioner for Main Roads
AF Schmids Assistant Commissioner for Main Roads
GV Fawkner Engineer-in-Chief
FC Cook Engineer (Bridges)
Department of Main Roads, New South Wales
Open to traffic on 26 March 1973

Heritage Listing  
None at present

 Read More
State Route 89 on Ozroads Website Click here
State Route 12 on Paul Rands Website Click here

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