Work has begun on replacing five old bridges near Bangalow in the Byron Shire area in New South Wales (NSW), Australia.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Michael McCormack said that the completion of the project will provide Bangalow residents better, safer and more reliable road access.
McCormack said: “These new bridges will ensure more efficient freight and traffic movement, which will in turn improve productivity for nearby agricultural industries, including the Booyong meat processing plant, macadamia, beef and dairy farms.”
According to NSW Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey, upgrading the existing one-lane timber bridges would deliver improved freight movement and the ability of the local businesses to access markets.
Pavey said: “New steel bridges with a load limit of 44 tonnes would replace the old, allowing for the transport of significantly heavier loads, giving time and money back to our local businesses.”
Byron Shire Council Mayor Simon Richardson said that the council had written to stakeholders in the areas informing them of traffic disruptions during construction.
He said: “We are aware the replacement of the bridges will disrupt some local residents and businesses and we ask for people’s patience and understanding.”
NSW Senator John Williams said that once the new structures are open, there will be significant economic benefits and significantly less frustration.
Parliamentary Secretary for Northern NSW Ben Franklin said that the Bangalow bridges project is jointly funded with the Australian government committing AUD2.59m ($1.95m) under the Bridges Renewal Programme and the NSW government investing AUD2.59m ($1.95m) from its Restart NSW Fixing Country Roads Programme.
Franklin said: “By replacing the five bridges along the one road network, freight carriers will save both time and money.”
Under the Bridges Renewal Programme, the Australian government will provide AUD420m ($317.3m) from the 2015-16 financial year to the 2020-21 financial year, with an on-going commitment of AUD60m ($45.3m) each following year to upgrade and replace the bridges.
The bridges to be replaced are: Booyong Bridge, Parkers Bridge, James Bridge, O’Meara’s Bridge and Scarrabelottis Bridge.