THE Heritage Council of New South Wales has approved construction of a new pedestrian walkway on the Barham-Koondrook bridge across the Murray River.
It has determined that a walkway will not detract from the historic nature of the 113-year-old lift-span bridge.
A Roads and Maritime Services spokesperson said the $17 million project to restore the historic bridge, jointly funded by the NSW and Victorian governments, will now include installing a new steel bridge walkway.
"This is a great win for the communities of Barham and Koondrook," the spokesperson said.
"Roads and Maritime has listened to the community about improving safety on this bridge and has seen first-hand the risks pedestrians, and in particular mobility scooter users, are taking as they move around the lift span.
"Building a new walkway, in keeping with the heritage values of the bridge, will mean pedestrians will be completely separated from traffic."
A temporary bridge, which will be used by traffic during the restoration project, has been built across the river and work has now started on connecting the road to the approaches of the bridge.
Traffic is expected to be moved onto the temporary bridge at the end of this month, weather permitting.
"The bridge will be retained for its heritage value and is undergoing this essential restoration work to ensure it continues to support the community's transport needs.
The spokesperson said Roads and Maritime has been progressively restoring the historic Barham-Koondrook bridge in recent years, including replacing support elements, spans, pier and deck as well as mechanical upgrades.
The Barham-Koondrook bridge is one of the oldest lift span bridges on the Murray River and listed on the NSW and Victorian State Heritage registers.