"After 10 years of work, they said it'd never be done, but it's here ahead of schedule ... so big it can be seen from the moon!".
That was the reaction from Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson on the opening of the Gunnedah bridge on Sunday.
A total of $61 million has been spent on the "biggest road infrastructure project the town has ever seen", and over the course of the build has created over 500 jobs, Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said.
"[W]e saw local community members be the first to walk and bus over the new bridge, and I'm excited that from [Monday], cars and B-doubles will be able to do the same and take pressure off the Abbott Street bridge," Mr Toole said.
"Gunnedah has been a significant freight pinchpoint in the North West, and the $61 million investment by the NSW Government in this bridge will fix that, allowing an uninterrupted flow of traffic for heavy vehicles through town in a big boost for productivity.
The bridge links the Oxley Highway with Warrubungle Street and will open to traffic on Monday.
With a length of 195 metres and a height of more than 10 metres, it includes a 2.5 metre wide concrete cycle and pedestrian path on the town side of the bridge.
Allowing uninterrupted traffic flow for heavy vehicles through the town, the bridge is a key link in the region's freight strategy and will support expected growth in agriculture, resources and manufacturing sectors.
"I couldn't be more excited that we're opening this bridge months ahead of schedule, and I thank everyone involved in the project because I know what a game changer it will be to locals," Mr Anderson said.
"The team successfully worked with Australian Rail Track Corporation to construct the railway culvert within the strict time constraints required, and I'm particularly pleased to note we doubled our target for Aboriginal employment on this project."
Final finishing work, including the closure of the rail level crossing, remains on track to be complete in mid-2021.