ARNOLD Street will be closed to vehicle and pedestrian traffic for five days later this month when the 135-tonne, 65-metre footbridge is assembled linking the new Bendigo hospital to the under-construction car park and helipad.
Structural works on the steel footbridge were completed at Bendigo Engineering Services this month and it will be transported to the hospital on November 24.
Powerlines will need to be lifted on the route from the Calder Highway in Kangaroo Flat to the hospital site for the all-day transportation, which will result in traffic restrictions throughout the area.
Arnold Street will then be closed for the following five days, and additional days before Christmas, between Barnard Street and Stewart Street.
Bendigo Health chairman Bob Cameron said there would be disruptions to road users, but the footbridge would improve the operation of the hospital in the long run.
“We don’t expect this to be completed until Christmas,” he said.
“We’ve got the hospital component, but now we need the car park component which so many people have been waiting for, and the helipad which we have been waiting for at the hospital.
“It will be straight over the road, straight into the theatre, straight into emergency, whatever needs to be done it can be done so much quicker.”
The footbridge will have two levels – the bottom for foot traffic between the hospital and level 2 of the car park, and the upper to transport patients from the helipad into the hospital.
It will be transported in four sections and assembled on Arnold Street itself, before being raised into position. Cladding and other works will be completed at the hospital site.
The footbridge will be 7.1 metres above the street level.
Bendigo Health will release further details about further road closures in the coming weeks.
Bendigo Engineering Services director Bill Lucas said it was a significant project for local companies to work on – and the transportation of the footbridge required careful planning.
“It’s probably been one of the biggest projects we’ve done over the years to date,” he said.
“It’s involved at least 10 different companies in Bendigo working on it, pretty well all our workforce have been on it for the last four months.”
The new car park will add more than 500 parking spaces to the precinct and is expected to be complete by mid-next year, along with the commissioning of the helipad.
The inclusion of a footbridge was a major political talking point during the 2010 state election campaign, during which Mr Cameron resigned as Labor Member for Bendigo West.