|Two lanes of traffic negotiate the west bridge during the bridge works|
|The bridge from Sawyer Park, 2012|
The Wimmera River rises in the Pyrenees region and generally winds westward, passing through Horsham, ending up at its termination at Lake Hindmarsh.
In Horsham, bridges over the Wimmera River now divide the southern section of the city from the central and northern portions. The bridges provide a vital link connecting the northern and southern suburbs of Horsham and carry as many as 23,000 cars and trucks each day.
The first timbered weir site was near the Botanic Gardens and formed part of the swimming hole. During the 1960s drought, a new weir was built in 1968, further west at the end of Drummond Street, and the river cleared between the weir and the bridge. In the late 1800s and early 1900s Chinese market gardeners grew their vegetables on blocks near the river. The first rowing clubs began in the 1880s and continue today.
The river has flooded semi-regularly, in the big 1909 flood, the water reached Pynsent & McLachlan Streets, and May Park. Other major floods were recorded in 1915, 1950s, 1964 and 2010.
The original timber bridge was built in 1884 by James McClounan. In 1892 the Council were required to replace its brittle timber deck with sturdier red-gum planks, these were still limited to 4-5 tons.
This bridge was replaced in 1939 by a single lane concrete bridge. In 1976 a second bridge (the westward) was constructed longside, and the first bridge remodelled to match it. The gap between the two was the site of the timber bridge, which was demolished during World War II.
|Construction works (WMT)|
The $4.26 million bridge upgrade is being jointly funded by the Australian and Victorian governments as part of the larger Western Highway upgrade.
Works will include widening the footpath to improve pedestrian and bicycle access, widening road shoulders, installing bridge safety barriers between pedestrians and motorists and constructing strengthening works - a thicker concrete decking, and widening the existing traffic lanes on both bridges.
The bridge project works are planned to finish in April 2014.
|The new circular piers for the pedestrian footpath|