The First Bridge
The first bridge at this location was built on an old track from Balingup to Nannup in 1900. It was located 12 kilometres from Balingup, downstream from where Balingup Brook joins the Blackwood River where there was a ford crossing the river known as The Junction.
It was initially known as ‘Powalup Bridge over the Blackwood’ after ‘powalup’, the Noongar word for junction. For reasons not known in the 1950s it appeared as Whitemans Bridge on official documents. It was known by locals as Wrights Bridge after the nearby early settler family and it was gazetted as such in 1989.
Wright Bridge, Wrong Approach
The road was originally to the north of the current alignment and the old one lane bridge had a bend on the approach from Balingup. This resulted in a number of accidents and the Wright family often rescued those who had run off the road into the bush or ended up in the river.
The Wright family are descendants of Thomas Twigg Wright an Irish immigrant who arrived in 1840 and Maria (nee Dawson) who was born in Augusta in 1835
The river is subject to periodic flooding and several floods were recorded over the roadway on the bridge. In 1963 it was 910mm over and in 1964 it was 2006mm. The record 1982 flood went 1981 mm over the new bridge which was 910mm higher than the original bridge.
The original bridge was replaced in 1970 by a wider construction. The ageing, deteriorating bridge was deemed inadequate to handle the increased traffic. When the new bridge was built the road was straightened and realigned. This bridge was given a new lease of life in 2001 when it was upgraded with new reinforced overlay constructed over the deck and strengthened below.
Total length 86 metres
Width 8.83 metres
Number of spans 14. 2 x 5.9m, 12 x 6.1m
Max headroom 11.3 metres