A ‘‘vital’’ connection to West Dapto moved a step closer on Thursday as a crane began laying beams for the new bridge on Cleveland Road.
The bridge, which arches over Mullet Creek, represents the final stage of Wollongong City Council’s Cleveland Road upgrade and is part of the $72million West Dapto Access Strategy.
Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said the bridge would be open for traffic in the next three or four months and would provide southern access to the West Dapto subdivisions, via Fairwater Drive.
Cr Bradbery said it was part of council’s plan for better access to the growing suburb.
‘‘It’s just one more incremental step to relieving the congestion on Bong Bong Road,’’ Cr Bradbery said.
‘‘And not only the congestion but Bong Bong Road itself is also vulnerable to flooding so we have now put in the Shone Avenue extension as well, so we’ve got three points in and out of West Dapto: Shone Avenue, Bong Bong Road and Cleveland Road.
‘‘They were previously there but they’ve been brought up to a higher standard,’’ he said.
The bridge passes Dapto High School and Cr Bradbery said that necessitated some added safety features to protect students, as the road was expected to become busier.
‘‘Dapto High School, being on the other side of the bridge, was pretty much like a country high school,’’ Cr Bradbery said.
‘‘Kids used to dawdle across the roadway, so we’ve really had to smarten up the road safety there as well.’’