The RMS pulled off a neat trick with their naming of the Kempsey bypass bridge and associated infrastructure today, they satisfied just about everyone.
Minister Roads, Maritime and Freight Duncan Gay did the honours at the Frederickton boat ramp in front of an invited audience. The bridge will be called the Macleay Valley Bridge, with the Dhanggati language group's favoured name 'yapang gurraarrbang gayanddugayigu' (or long track to the other side) as the secondary name underneath.
The northern bypass interchange will now be called the Dunghutti Interchange, while the southern interchange will be named after Kempsey's favourite son, Slim Dusty and be known as the Slim Dusty Interchange.
A vigorous long running campaign to name the bridge after pioneer surveyor Francis Clarke which was mounted by his descendant Alan Clarke was ultimately unsuccessful despite being the second most popular name when the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) called for submissions in 2013.
Mr Gay acknowledged the long, tortuous process which has been the bridge naming saga although he did get the maths wrong.
"It has taken almost as long to name as it did to build," Mr Gay joked.
In fact the bridge has taken 33 months to name, and only 21 months to construct.
The first pile was driven into the Frogmore floodplain in July 2011 with the bridge opening to traffic in March 2013.
The Slim Dusty bridge was the most popular with 19 per cent, followed by The Frances Clarke Bridge’ with 15 per cent support, ahead of ‘Robinson Brothers Bridge’, Macleay Valley Bridge and ‘Yapang gurraarrbang gayandugayigu’ or ‘very long track to the other side’ suggested by the Dhanggati Language Group, which all gained 12 per cent of the submissions. The ‘Dhungutti Bridge’ was supported by 8.5 per cent of the respondents.
Caroline Bradshaw from the Dhanggati Language Group said they were more than happy with the result.
"We are a small group of about 30 people mainly elders, we suggested the name originally because we thought it would be a good way of introducing people to the language and the culture," she said.
"The idea is that people would be curious about the name and what it meant and how to pronounce it and we could have a sign or originally the idea was to have a n audio recording in a display you could activate to hear the name spoken in the language.
"It has been a long journey for us but we are over moon that there will be a bridge with our language on it. Of course there are plenty of place names around the Macleay Valley but this is a bit different."
Slim Dusty Centre CEO Kathryn Yarnold was ecstatic with the news that the southern bypass interchange had been named in honour of Slim Dusty.
"We are very pleased," Ms Yarnold said.
"This is the best marketing tool we could possibly have on the Pacific Highway to bring people into our town and into the Slim Dusty Centre."