Renewed bridges lead to safer, stronger communities

Local businesses and communities are set to benefit through enhanced transport connectivity, from the latest roll-out of the Australian Government’s $480 million Bridges Renewal Program.

Round Four of the popular Program will see $65 million invested in replacing or upgrading ageing bridges, in partnership with local communities throughout Australia, to help Australians arrive home sooner and safer.

This $65 million commitment will see more vital local bridgeworks projects funded after being approved following the completion of an open, merit-based selection process.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said Round Four applications recently closed and more than 90 local councils had applied for funding through more than 140 projects, nationwide.

“Overall the Australian Government is investing $480 million for these vitally important bridgeworks between 2015 and 2022, with an ongoing commitment of $60 million each year following,” Mr McCormack said.

“Around 290 projects, funded under the first three rounds of the Bridges Renewal Program, have either been completed or are well underway.

“This is another initiative that’s helping Australians arrive home sooner and safer, delivered as part of the Liberal and Nationals Government’s $75 billion 10-year infrastructure plan, with the security of this investment made possible due to our strong economic management.”

The Bridges Renewal Program provides up to 50 per cent towards the cost of repairing or replacing old and unsafe local bridges with this funding investment directed to local councils to spend.

Local governments are able to apply for funding to advance projects which enhance their local communities and facilitate higher productivity vehicle access.

Mr McCormack said the Program structure is designed to ensure the Australian Government achieves maximum value from these important local investments, by working with local councils.

He said a prime example was the brand new concrete bridge which connects Crossmaglen Valley with neighbouring Bonville on the New South Wales North Coast, which he unveiled last year.

“School buses servicing the Crossmaglen Public School as well as milk tankers and other heavy vehicles servicing the agricultural industry can now cross the bridge several times a day with greater safety, efficiency and confidence,” he said.

“This is a great local result which was warmly welcomed by the local community and acknowledged as something which makes a real difference in their lives through a safer and more efficient journey.

“The construction of this bridge was made possible through a $225,000 investment from the Liberal and Nationals Government’s Bridges Renewal Program and the Coffs Harbour City Council’s $225,000 contribution from its Bridge Capital Works Program.

“Bridgeworks completed under the Bridges Renewal Program such as replacing old timber bridges or building higher and wider concrete structures, all represent a win-win for everyone involved and help to make our communities safer and stronger; especially those in our regions.”

Round Four will see the Australian Government contribute up to a maximum of $700,000 for one bridge or $1.4 million for two bridges in the same local government area.

Round Four applications have now closed with the list of successful projects set to be announced soon.For more information visit: investment.infrastructure.gov.au/infrastructure_investment/bridges_renewal.aspx.