A new era has been marked for Williams Bridge at Wollombi, which has been replaced with a concrete structure and is now open to traffic.
The bridge on Paynes Crossing Road is named after a local family who can be traced back more than 100 years.
James Bruce Williams was born at Cockfighters near Wollombi in 1875 and married Isobella Leslie (born at Wollombi in 1872).
They were married in 1898 at St Mark’s, Laguna and built a slab house at Paynes Crossing which is still standing today.
Crossing the Wollombi Brook was no easy task for the family whose main form of transport was a horse and cart.
Today the crossing looks very different, with the new 33-metre reinforced concrete bridge precast in quality controlled conditions to ensure a 100-year lifespan.
Cessnock City Council made the decision to accelerate the replacement of Williams Bridge due to the issues arising from restricted access.
Significant deterioration to the old bridge resulted in a five-tonne load limit and a 40km/h speed restriction.
The load limit and speed restriction has now been removed.
A ceremony was held on Tuesday, July 26 to declare the new bridge officially open.
Cessnock Mayor Bob Pynsent said the upgrade is great news for the entire community.
“The improved access to this remote area will be particularly beneficial to local road users and emergency vehicles,” he said.
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