Construction works began at the weekend to remove a defining piece of the city’s history: The old Kapooka Bridge.
The bridge was built in 1880 and its removal makes way for the Sydney-Melbourne railway line.
Two large excavators removed the brick arch structure on behalf of the Roads and Maritime Service and Wagga MP Daryl Maguire said the project was about “setting up for the future”.
“(The bridge) needed to be demolished because the new trains are taller and carry double containers,” he said.
“The corridor will be part of the Brisbane-Melbourne line and it is important we get this infrastructure under way now.”
The old structure has not been used since a replacement bridge was built on a new alignment of the Olympic HIghway in June 2016.
Removal of the bridge is part of the $55 million joint state and federal funded Bridges for the Bush program, and upper house MP Wes Fang has fond memories of the location.
“Growing up in Uranquinty, (my family) travelled the bridge daily and it was quite iconic,” he said.
“It just so happened that one day, my dad was riding across the bridge in his Harley and someone happened to take a photo of him.
“I’ve got that photo framed and laminated in my office and it means so much to me.
“I’m sad that the bridge is coming down but it will allow for greater things in the future.”
Refurbishments to the Kapooka train station building are also under way as part of the project to create another bus port and provide more “user friendly” access to people with disabilities.
Another project is under was as well, Mr Maguire said, to create a memorial honouring the servicemen and women of the country.
“(We) asked the RMS to consult with the tri-services,” he said.
“Meaning Kapooka, the RAAF base and Navy about establishing a structure in the in the triangle that leads to Kapooka, to recognise the servicemen of Australia.”
Removal works are expected to be completed by August 21, and motorists travelling on the Olympic Highway will be able to return to normal driving conditions.
Mr Fang said the old Kapooka Bridge was “a huge part of (his) childhood,” and that its removal would go down as a day in the history books.
“We need to mark the historic occasion that it is and realise that bridge meant so much to so many people for such a long period of time,” he said.