Bridging past and future

As part of a major Princes Highway upgrade, NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS, now Transport for NSW) evaluated options for crossing the Shoalhaven River at Nowra. The current southbound crossing is an 1881 Whipple truss bridge listed on the State Heritage Register. The Nowra Bridge is also a local landmark, with RMS receiving 720 submissions during the community consultation process. RMS had to finely balance amenity against heritage values.


RMS appointed construction engineers SMEC to deliver a preferred option. Seeking authoritative heritage advice, SMEC commissioned Artefact to prepare a Conservation Management Plan for the Nowra Bridge. Artefact’s plan incorporated historical, engineering and social values to confirm that the bridge is State Significant. This plan suggested that RMS consider alternative crossing options, while detailing policies to guide future works on the bridge.


Moving to an advanced feasibility study, RMS evaluated alternative locations for a new bridge. They engaged Artefact to explore potential impacts on local Aboriginal cultural heritage and non-Aboriginal heritage as identified in the Conservation Management Plan.

Management and mitigation measures were put in place to conserve heritage values where possible. The new $342 million Nowra Bridge will deliver greater traffic capacity, while removing current weight and height restrictions. Artefact have since been working with Aboriginal stakeholders to deliver the Aboriginal Heritage Interpretation Strategy for the bridge.

Image credits: Top - Panorama, Transport for NSW. Left - Cambewarra Mount in DistanceSamuel Elyard, State Library of NSW, DGD 22/Vol. 02. Courtesy Dixson Galleries, State Library of New South Wales.


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