Mortlake-Ararat Road drivers can look forward to less time in their vehicles after the Hopkins River bridge at Rossbridge was officially reopened on Thursday.
The barriers were removed on Tuesday with one road user posting on social media that they were glad to have half an hour of their life back each day.
“Thank goodness, sick of detour,” another resident posted.
“At least they did finally fix part of the detour. At one stage it was like an obstacle course.”
Agriculture and Regional Development Minister, Western Victoria MP Jaala Pulford, officially announced the completion on the $3.4 million bridge.
Ms Pulford thanked road users for putting up with the detours and said the project was a win for local residents, farmers and freight carriers who rely on the bridge.
“We thank the local community for their patience,” she said.
“We had some bridges that had served the community well but after 60 years they weren’t doing that any more.
“Speed and load restrictions will be able to go.”
Works to widen the approaches to the bridge started in July and the Mortlake-Ararat Road has been closed since September while the new bridge was constructed, with detours sending traffic on a significant detour towards Glenthompson.
The new bridge replaces two bridges built more than 60 years ago.
Over time, the condition of the twin bridges had deteriorated leading to load restrictions and a reduced 40 kilometres per hour speed limit being put in place.
The new bridge will allow VicRoads to raise the speed over the bridge to 100km/h.
“The new bridge will make life easier for the hundreds of drivers that rely on it every day, providing Rossbridge with a safer and stronger structure and I’m sure will provide a real sigh of relief to our farming communities,” Ms Pulford said.
“This bridge will provide an important connection for heavy vehicles travelling between nearby farms and town centres.
“This is a wonderful project for people in Ararat Rural City.”
The Mortlake-Ararat road carries 700 vehicles per day, over 30 per cent being heavy vehicles.