READY TO GO: Grafton Bridge to open to traffic
IT'S been talked about, argued about, and perhaps for those who've watched the river even dreamt about.
Today, the second Grafton bridge will open to traffic.
The bridge, built downstream from the original bridge which was constructed in 1932, will take its first cars once all the finishing touches are complete with a ribbon being cut towards the middle of the day. 525 metres long with the equivalent of six Olympic swimming pools of concrete, the bridge is expected to take 18,000 cars a day.
With it brings the first full-time traffic lights in the Clarence Valley, installed in several places throughout the bridge precinct.
And for Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis, his excitement to try the new bridge may be just as evident as everyone else.
"I have this image of Moses parting the Red Sea as I drive up to the new bridge and the traffic parts so I can drive across freely," Member for Chris Gulaptis said.
"I feel elated that something Grafton has been fighting for decades is now a reality."
Mr Gulaptis paid tribute ahead of the opening to those in the community who had fought for the second crossing to be a reality.
"I cannot understate the efforts of Ron Bell, Des Harvey, Heather Roland and Spiro Notaras for never giving up and keeping the politicians honest and I do acknowledge the NSW Government for keeping their promise to build the bridge," he said.
"I'm absolutely thrilled it's completed and looking at it in profile from the old bridge it certainly is a sexy bridge next to the bendy bridge that has served us well since 1932."
Work will continued into the new year, with temporary traffic arrangements will still exist in the area until the completion of the roundabout at the intersection of the Pacific and Gwydir highway.
This is hoped to be completed in mid-2020, after the Pacific Highway upgrade opens to traffic between Glenugie and Tyndale.