New Blacks Bridge provides stronger support for farmers

Media Release

DC222/2017

24 July 2017

Joint release with:

Michael McCormack

Minister for Small Business
Federal Member for Riverina

Mark Liebich

Mayor
Weddin Shire Council

A new Blacks Bridge in the New South Wales Central West has given local residents and Greenethorpe grain growers a long awaited replacement for the ageing timber bridge.

Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said the $850,000 project was delivered under Round 2 of the Australian Government's Bridges Renewal Programme (BRP), in partnership with Weddin Shire Council.

“Our Bridges Renewal Programme is helping communities across the nation replace aged or inadequate bridges which are preventing regional areas from reaching their full potential. The new Blacks Bridge is a great example of what can be achieved when the Federal Government works directly with local authorities to build the type of infrastructure they so badly need, and in turn, support local jobs and industries,” Mr Chester said.

Federal Member for Riverina Michael McCormack said the project delivered critical infrastructure for residents of Greenethorpe, for whom the bridge replacement was a longstanding local issue as the only accessible road during flooding events.

“Greenethorpe is located in a major grain-producing area and replacing the dilapidated Blacks Bridge with a two-lane concrete bridge allows for B-Double access to the Mid-Western Highway, cutting travel distances and increasing grain transport productivity,” Mr McCormack said.

“When the area is flooded, Blacks Bridge becomes the only passable road, which is why this project was so important to the community. As well as access for trucks, the new bridge also provides a safe passage for school buses and other essential services.”

Weddin Shire Mayor Mark Liebich thanked the Australian Government for its contribution to much needed local infrastructure.

“The project involved demolishing the old bridge and building a 28-metre-long and eight-metre-wide reinforced concrete crossing. We were very happy to be able to work with the Government on this project and receive the financial support we needed to get the job done,” Cr Liebich said.

Construction on the project started in January 2017 and was completed in April 2017. The project was jointly funded by the Australian Government and Weddin Shire Council under a 50:50 split agreement.

FAST FACTS
The Australian Government will provide $360 million to the BRP from 2015–16 to 2019–20, with an on-going commitment of $60 million each year following to upgrade and repair bridges.

Successful applicants under Round Three of the Bridges Renewal Programme are expected to be announced in late 2017. To allow for a wider distribution of projects, the Australian Government's contribution to projects under Round Three will be limited to $5 million per project.