THE LONG wait is over.
The Ripley Rd overpass is now open, ending the long headache for Cunningham Hwy commuters and Ripley residents.
The overpass, providing an important link between Ipswich and Ripley, was closed in April so that work could be done on increasing the height of the bridge, which had been hit by oversize trucks on several occasions in the previous year.
Ipswich MP Ian Berry said that works to fix the damage and raise the bridge were now complete, with final minor works being completed over the coming months.
"With the last of the major works now complete, I am pleased residents will be using the overpass for Christmas," Mr Berry said.
Given this project has had several delays, including when asbestos was discovered and the site had to be decontaminated, I want to personally thank Ripley residents for their patience during the closure.
Mr Berry said that under the former Labor Government the bridge was struck six times in 10 years, but that the former government did nothing to increase the vehicle clearance.
"I'm proud that the LNP Government has now raised the bridge and over the coming months is completing the lowering of the Cunningham Hwy to boost clearance to 5.4m.
"This means that the Ripley Rd overpass will soon have a clearance higher than the 5.2m of the Swanbank overpass, which hasn't had any significant vehicle strikes," Mr Berry said.
"This investment by the LNP to increase the clearance will substantially reduce the chance of another bridge strike in the future."
Final touches on the overpass will restart after the Christmas break but the bridge will remain open to traffic at a reduced speed of 40km/h.
While the overpass will remain open, works to lower the road to increase high vehicle clearance will continue on the Cunningham Hwy under the bridge in January.
It is expected the footpath on the bridge will be re-opened in February.
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