Australia’s New South Wales (NSW) Government has announced the start of construction work on a new bridge over the Nambucca River at Macksville, as part of the A$830m ($607m) Warrell Creek to Nambucca Heads upgrade along the Pacific Highway.

The new 850m-long Nambucca River Bridge, which will be built about 1.2km east of the existing bridge, will also span the northern floodplain to minimise flood impacts on Macksville and nearby properties.

The Warrell Creek to Nambucca Heads upgrade bypasses Macksville and is expected to reduce the number of heavy vehicles passing through the town.

"The new Nambucca River Bridge was an important part of the Warrell Creek to Nambucca Heads upgrade."

The construction of this upgrade is jointly funded by the Australian and New South Wales Governments, with each providing A$415m ($303m).

Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said: "The new Nambucca River Bridge was an important part of the Warrell Creek to Nambucca Heads upgrade.

"The Pacific Highway upgrade is a priority for the Australian Government, that is why we have committed A$5.64bn ($4.1bn) towards completing the Pacific Highway upgrade by the end of the decade.

According to the government, the investment will improve road safety, reduce travel times, enhance freight efficiency and provide a more reliable road network.

During construction of the new bridge, navigation restrictions will be imposed on the Nambucca River.

NSW member for Oxley Melinda Pavey said: "A navigable channel will be maintained through the building site, although short closures will be necessary for the safety of boat users and workers.

"A reduced speed limit of 4k and ‘no towing’ restrictions will be in place. Fishing can continue near the existing Macksville Bridge, but not near the new bridge work site for safety reasons."

If weather permits, the new Nambucca River Bridge will open for traffic in 2017.