The replacement of one of the last major wooden bridges in the Northern Midlands region - and one of the busiest - was given the official sign-off at an opening event last week. The new $2.8 million reinforced concrete bridge is expected to carry 650 vehicles across the Macquarie River each day, featuring two lanes and a footpath area for pedestrians. "The Woolmers Lane Bridge was the last major wooden bridge in our municipality to be replaced," Cr Knowles said. "The new bridge is a much-needed upgrade and will provide a safer crossing for all road users." ALSO IN THE NORTHERN MIDLANDS Tasmanian Liberal Senator Claire Chandler said the upgrade would extend the lifespan of the bridge to "100 years". It is unknown just how many iterations have existed over the years, though the first simple wooden bridge is thought to have been constructed by Thomas and William Archer about the year 1840. The most recent version - built by the council in the early 1990s - continued in the style seen widely across rural Tasmania: a single lane, with wooden deck and railing. By 2016, it was clear the most recent build was no longer fit for purpose and assessed as being at risk of closure within years. An application for funding under a federal bridge renewal program was made that year. That funding would eventually cover about half of the total cost, with the council covering the second portion. In June 2017, the council applied a 12-tonne limit to the bridge. Then-mayor David Downie noted at the time it had "reached the end of its life" and "could collapse" if heavy vehicles. Replacing the bridge was expected to take up to a year, during which time access to the nearby boat ramp and car park was unavailable. Work on the new bridge began in January 2018 and was originally slated for completion by that July. Complications due to weather and the fluctuating Macquarie River levels were cited as the cause of an extension out to October. While you're with us, you can now sign up to receive breaking news updates and daily headlines direct to your inbox. Sign up here.