Smoking ceremony and sod turn officially starts work on Nelligen Bridge project.

Friday 9 April 2021 marked the beginning of construction for the new Canberra-to-coast bridge at Nelligen in New South Wales. To mark the occasion, a ‘Smoking Ceremony’ and ‘Welcome to Country’ were performed by the local Aboriginal Elders of the Walbanja People, using a healing remedy from locally-sourced plants traditionally used to promote healing of the land and river.

A sod turning — by the Honourable Andrew Constance MP, Member for Bega and New South Wales Minister for Transport and Roads, and Liz Innes, Mayor of Eurobodalla Shire Council — followed the ceremony.

Minister Constance congratulated Seymour Whyte for winning the new bridge’s construction contract and said, “What great work Seymour Whyte has delivered on other infrastructure projects for New South Wales.”

Seymour Whyte’s Project Manager, Rob Parry-Williams, said, “It was great to have the local Walbanja Elders share their traditional customs and family’s history with us; and to talk about the importance of the river and the birds it supports — as well as receive such warming recognition of the successful projects Seymour Whyte has delivered, from our Transport Minister, Andrew Constance.”

The project

The project involves building a new 349-metre bridge, up to 7 meters above the river at Nelligen, about 8km inland from Batemans Bay.

The new bridge will increase safety for motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists by providing an improved curve on the bridge’s eastern side, with wider lanes and shoulders, plus a safety barrier between the road and footpath.

The project will also improve access around the river’s foreshore with a two metre-wide path linking Thule Road and Reid Street, along with a new community space to be built on the western side of the existing bridge.

The new bridge will provide safer and more reliable journeys on the Kings Highway between Canberra and the New South Wales South Coast.

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For more information about the Nelligen Bridge Replacement Project, please visit the Transport for NSW website: