High priority bridges, roads to receive $45M in regional areas

A prime mover truck and dog uses a timber bridge in regional NSW.

Further investments in bridge and road safety upgrades across regional and rural Australia have been announced by the Federal Government.

Over $45 million will be granted to 19 high-priority projects.

From Clarence Valley in New South Wales, Gladstone in Queensland, through to Port Hedland in Western Australia, the Government will partner with local councils to deliver projects in fast-growing communities and in areas that house major production hubs.

Over $25 million will be shared by 14 projects under the Bridges Renewal Program (BRP), with over $20 million supporting five projects under the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program (HVSPP).

The BRP supports upgrading old and worn timber bridges to modern structures that can take more weight, are better equipped for major weather events, and are safer for both vehicles and pedestrians.

Over $2.7 million will go to replacing Comobella Bridge over Mitchell’s Creek at Comobella outside of Dubbo with a concrete structure

More than $1.8 million will be allocated to the reconstruction and widening of Appila Spring Bridge at Appila in South Australia

Over $1.6 million has been earmarked to replace the culvert on Almurta Glen Forbes Road at Almurta in Victoria.

The HVSPP supports improvements to roads used in freight routes, including the installation of intersections, widening roads, sealing roads and installing safety barriers – to increase the productivity and safety of heavy vehicle operations.

The latest HVSPP projects include $5 million towards the upgrade of two existing causeways and one new causeway at three locations on Malbon-Selwyn Road at Cloncurry in Queensland; $5 million to reconstruct and widen around six kilometres of Mount William Road at Yalla-Y-Poora in Victoria; $5 million to upgrade Route 1 of the Wedgefield road network at Wedgefield in Western Australia, including widening and sealing approximately 580 metres of road, installing precast box culverts to mitigate flooding, and pavement upgrades.

The BRP and HVSPP will consolidate into the Safer Local Road and Infrastructure Program (SLRIP) from 1 July 2024 – with an additional $50 million to be added to the new program.

“We know that our regional road networks are ageing at the same time as communities outside of our big cities are growing – which is why we’re partnering with local councils to get their high-priority road safety projects off the ground,” said Minister for Regional Development and Local Government, Kristy McBain.

“Bridges are critical access points in and out of our communities, and freight routes are central to the efficient delivery of essential products and services, which is why this $45 million will go a long way to improving the safety and reliability of these regional road networks.”

Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Senator Carol Brown said road safety is a shared responsibility.

“We all must do our part to ensure every road user gets home safely,” she said.

“We want to make our busiest freight routes safer for truckies and everyone using our roads.

“I am pleased to see another five projects come to life under the HVSPP, which will increase safety and reliability for the trucking industry across Australia while bolstering access through local rural communities.”

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