Orbost & District Historical Society , Orbost
Three coloured Country Roads pamphlets for the 'Princes Freeway - Orbost Section". On the front is a coloured photograph of the new construction over the Snowy River at Orbost. Inside is a program for a ceremony for the opening of the new Snowy River Bridge. There is also a black print map of the project.
Opened by the Hon. J A Rafferty, Minister for Transport, 25 November 1976, the bridge was the first of four bridges to be built as part of the freeway bypass of Orbost. Construction cost $2.4 million.
This construction was an important development along the Princes Highway corridor through East Gippsland. The original highway approached the Snowy River at a very poor alignment, and several serious accidents had occurred at the Orbost end. In times of heavy flood, the highway on both sides of the river had been cut by floodwaters and during the 1971 floods, the highest ever recorded, the river was a mile wide at the crossing. Construction of the bridges commenced in January 1975, with an expectation to open the bridge across the Snowy River as soon as possible. Less than two years later, on 25 November 1976, the bridge across the Snowy River was opened to traffic, allowing the old bridge to be demolished. The remainder of the Orbost Bypass, both the floodplain crossings and the eastern section around the township itself, was declared ‘Princes Freeway’ and opened to traffic in December 1977. (ref http://mrv.ozroads.com.au)
The Country Roads Board was the government authority for the construction and maintenance of main roads in Victoria between 1913 and 1983. It was succeeded by the Road Construction authority on 1 July 1983 and later merged with the Road Traffic Authority on July 1 1989 to form the Roads Corporation.
James Cameron, an Orbost farming pioneer and Member of the Legislative Assembly, fathered the Country Roads Board.
The opening of this Snowy River Bridge was an important development in the accessibility to the township of Orbost.