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BRIDGES FOR THE BUSH Improving road safety and freight productivity along the Lachlan River

Wednesday, October 03, 2012
The Warroo Bridge over the Lachlan River between Forbes and Condobolin has been included in the NSW Government’s Bridges for the Bush infrastructure program, the Member for Dubbo Troy Grant announced today.

Mr Grant said the work is part of the O’Farrell Government’s commitment to improving road safety and freight productivity by replacing or upgrading bridges over the next five years at 17 key locations in regional NSW.

“The NSW Government is determined to make NSW number one again and that is why – even though times are tough – we are investing in infrastructure which will boost our economy by increasing productivity and creating jobs,” Mr Grant said.

“I’m delighted the State Infrastructure Strategy (SIS) has recommended upgrading the Warroo Bridge over the Lachlan River; I’m even more delighted Premier O’Farrell has given the green light to get work underway.

“In the Dubbo electorate, this will mean spending $10 million on the Warroo Bridge to enhance road safety and provide better access for freight trucks servicing the region’s agricultural industries.”

NSW Roads Minister Duncan Day said Bridges for the Bush is an initiative to help rebuild the NSW economy by investing in critical infrastructure to remove a number of significant freight pinch points and bottlenecks on the state road network.

“Today we are committing an additional $135 million to the Bridges for the Bush program and we hope the Federal Government will soon respond to the submission we made in August seeking funding for these bridge replacements or upgrades,” Mr Gay said.

“Half the nation’s road freight and three quarters of all interstate road freight journeys are on NSW roads, so it’s only fair and reasonable for the Federal Government to match our funding commitment for Bridges for the Bush,” he said.

Bridges for the Bush involves replacing or upgrading five key priority higher mass limit (HML) deficient bridges on state-managed roads and 12 timber truss bridges on state, regional and local roads.

The initiative also aligns with the goals of the Australian Government, particularly the next stage of the Nation Building Program that specifically emphasises the importance of improving heavy vehicle freight productivity.

Mr Gay said Bridges for the Bush will provide thousands of continuous kilometres for higher productivity vehicles such as B-doubles operating at HML; not to mention fixing a number of heritage-listed timber truss bridges to safer service levels.

“It’s estimated that replacing or upgrading the five HML deficient bridges alone will remove 8,000 heavy vehicle trips from the freight task each year, saving the state more than $200 million in economic, social and environmental costs over the next 30 years,” Mr Gay said.

“The Government worked closely with the logistics sector, local councils and the NSW Heritage Council to develop a targeted list of bridges to be replaced or upgraded over the next five years.

“Bridges for the Bush is part of an integrated program of works over the next five years, including a $277 million investment to upgrade grain rail branch lines, to enhance freight productivity in country NSW.”

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