The evening date with gridlock for motorists heading north over the Maroochy River will soon be just a memory.
The widening of the existing bridge is expected to be finished in as little as two weeks, about four months ahead of schedule.
By September, both the old and new bridges will be fully-functioning with three northbound lanes and three southbound lanes over the river.
Main Roads project manager Lester Jackson said the $30 million upgrade of the existing bridge and bridge duplication, which had so far taken two years and three months, was originally scheduled for completion at the end of the year.
He congratulated KBR engineers and JF Hull contractors for getting the work done almost four months ahead of schedule.
When the existing bridge first opened in January 1990, about 10,000 cars crossed the river every day. Now that figure has swelled to 35,000 cars a day, and is expected to double by 2020.
But the bridge upgrade was just one part of the state government’s $104 million project to upgrade the Sunshine Motorway between Maroochydore Road and the David Low Way.
Mr Jackson said it was expected other works, including the Maroochydore Road interchange upgrade, would be completed by early October.
“The existing roundabout there is reaching the end of its life, and traffic volumes have increased and will continue to increase, so we’ve had to do something to achieve greater capacity and greater safety there,” he said.
“The traffic signals being installed there will cope with the long term traffic growth as well as pedestrian movements across the motorway and Maroochydore Road.”
A Main Roads spokeswoman said construction of the new interchange was progressing well.
“To allow construction activities to progress, traffic using the interchange (was) transferred to the inner lanes (on Saturday),” she said.
“These changed traffic conditions will remain in place until the new signalised intersection is finished later in the year.
“Motorists are encouraged to watch for details of changed traffic conditions on construction message boards and traffic control.”
She said coordinated traffic signals would improve safety, pedestrian access and future traffic growth in the region.
The interchange project consisted of:
Two bridges for the duplication of the motorway over Maroochydore road
The removal of the existing roundabout and installation of four sets of coordinated traffic signals
Two lanes of traffic in each direction along Maroochydore road
Two right turn lanes from each entry point to the interchange
Links to the local cycle network and to a new cycle path between Maroochydore Road and Maroochy Bridge
Architectural finishes and landscaping.
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