A NEW concrete bridge over Bakers Creek on the Old Hillgrove Road will increase access for primary producers and tourists to Armidale.
Since 2017, varying load limits have been enforced on Bakers Creek Bridge as Armidale Regional Council made an effort to prolong the life and maintain the timber structure.
But Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall has announced a $1.3 million grant for Armidale Regional Council under the State Government's Fixing Country Bridges program.
Mr Marshall said by replacing the existing timber bridge, council could remove heavy vehicle load limits which have been imposed on the bridge throughout the last five years.
"These restrictions have been inconvenient for local heavy vehicle operators, who have had to take a 9.4 kilometre detour via Stockton Road and Waterfall Way to travel to Armidale," he said.
Replacement of the bridge will not only mean an end to load limits but also a reduction in the costly maintenance required on the timber structure.
Mayor Ian Tiley said the replacement bridge would benefit the tourism, agriculture and mining sectors.
"Old Hillgrove Road is strategically important for a number of local industries," Cr Tiley said.
"Council is working to ensure its road network is fit for purpose and that traffic, in particular farm vehicles and stock trucks, are able to travel safely and on the most efficient route to town.
"This funding would cover the total cost of replacing the bridge, which would significantly enhance council's Bridge Renewal Program."
Due to the scale of this project considerable planning will be undertaken by council. Council expects construction to start in September 2022.
Old Hillgrove Road experiences high traffic daily, with an average of 49 vehicle movements registered across Bakers Creek Bridge.
"A concrete bridge will ensure the route remains safe and open to all users," Mr Marshall said.
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