About 33 wooden bridges need replacing in the Armidale Local Government Area and 11 of those are recognised as being in poor condition. So, the beginning of a $1.63 million program by council to replace seven timber bridges this week may be welcomed by many farmers and businesses.
Upgrades on these seven bridges, jointly funded by council, the Federal Bridges Renewal Program and the state government’s Stronger Regions Fund, are the first part of a larger council program to modernise such infrastructure throughout the LGA.
Site preparations including a temporary bypass across the creek began at Station Creek Bridge on Wonwibinda Road on Monday, and, weather permitting, work on that bridge was expected to take about four-weeks to complete.
Armidale Mayor Simon Murray said while temporary structures at the sites would add to the cost they were necessary to avoid inconvenience to local road users and residents.
“Temporary structures will be put in place at almost all of the sites because traffic would otherwise have lengthy detours that could add considerable time to their journeys,” Cr Murray said.
“The only exception will be Abington Creek Bridge, where the new structure will have a different alignment over the creek.”
He said all the upgrades were being done with this region’s primary producers and their ease of market access in mind.
Council service leader Roads and Parks Rob Shaw, said he was pleased by the commencement of this particular project.
“I’m hoping we get second round funding from the Stronger Regions Fund so we’re able to do another 10 or so bridges,” Mr Shaw said.
“We’re keeping back enough money so we can match grant funding if necessary.
“Council gives a very high priority to reducing its backlog of timber bridges that need to be made safe, and it’s proactively seeking the appropriate grant funding to do so.”
Mr Shaw said some bridges would be widened and all would carry heavier vehicles.
Following work on Station Creek Bridge, the remaining bridge construction order will be:
- Maiden Creek – Wongwibinda Creek Bridge.
- Pipeclay Creek – Weirs Road Bridge.
- Wollomombi River – Rockvale Road Bridge.
- Abington Creek – Boorlong Road Bridge.
- Boundary Creek – Wongwibinda Road Bridge.
- Hiscock Creek – Puddledock Road Bridge.