Armidale Regional Council has been successful in its application for funding towards the upgrade of seven timber bridges, the Deputy Prime Minister and Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce announced last week but it is only a small percentage of what it asked for.
“Council is grateful for the funding of $592,633 which will go towards upgrading or strengthen seven of the worst bridge structures in the Armidale Region,” said Armidale Regional Council service leader roads & parks, Rob Shaw.
“We applied for $2.9 million which would have been enough to upgrade all of our 32 timber bridges at an estimated cost of $5.8million, keeping in mind that Council set aside $2.9m of its own money from the Stronger Regions Fund for this purpose.”
Two bridges to be upgraded soon include Station Creek Bridge (known locally as House Creek) which received Federal funding of $76,660 towards the $153,320 project cost; and Maiden Creek Bridge which was awarded Federal funding of $54,178 towards the $108,356 project cost. Both bridges are located on Wongwibinda Road.
“All of the timber bridges we received funding for need some work to extend their useful life, but some need immediate attention to replace rotting girders,” Mr Shaw said.
Armidale Regional Council also received funding to upgrade Boundary Creek Bridge with Federal funding of $119,265 towards the $238,530 project cost;
Abington Bridge Boorolong Rd with Federal funding of $52,405 towards the $104,810 project cost;
Hiscox Bridge Upgrade with Federal funding of $38,270 towards the $76,540 project cost;
Pipeclay Gully Bridge with Federal funding of $95,530 towards the $191,060 project cost and;
Wollomombi River Bridge with Federal funding of $156,325 towards the $312,650 project cost.
Eleven new bridge projects will be delivered in the New England Electorate in round three of the Federal Government’s Bridges Renewal Program.
The eleven new projects, which are in Armidale Regional Council, Glen Innes Severn Council, Tamworth Regional Council and Walcha Council areas, will receive more than $1,778,867 in Federal Coalition Government funding under the program.
The Deputy Prime Minister and Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce, said he had worked closely with the community to identify key bridges for an upgrade or total replacement, with the improvement set to increase connectivity in the region.
“The eleven new bridge projects will add to the $4,200,870 already provided for eleven previous projects in the New England Electorate under rounds one and two of the program,” Mr Joyce said.
“This funding will contribute towards the cost of replacement or upgrade of bridges in the New England Electorate to create improved transport links for local businesses, families and school children travelling throughout the electorate.”
Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said the $162.53 million funding toward round three of the Bridges Renewal program was in addition to the $216 million committed under the first two rounds.
“The renewal and upgrade of 186 bridges under this round will deliver social and economic benefits throughout regional Australia,” Mr Chester said.
“The Federal Government’s financial commitment in this round will be matched by successful proponents. To allow for a wider distribution of projects, the Australian Government’s contribution under round three has been limited to $5 million per project.”
Apart from Armidale’s seven bridge upgrades the new projects in New England are:
· Glen Innes Severn Council - Polhill Road Bridge Replacement. Federal funding of $292,000 towards the $592,000 project cost;
· Tamworth Regional Council - Middlebrook Creek Bridge 1 Replacement in conjunction with Benama Bridge. Federal funding of $173,811 towards the $347,622 project cost.
· Tamworth Regional Council - Middlebrook Creek Bridge 2 Replacement. Federal funding of $409,048 towards the $818,096 project cost.
· Walcha Council - Wollun Road Bridge Replacement. Federal funding of $311,375 towards the $622,750 project cost.