Trio of bridge upgrades enhance Moira producers' market access

Work has been completed on three bridges along Stewarts Bridge Road, improving access to vital markets for the agricultural industry in Victoria’s Moira Shire.

Shackell’s Folly, Wallala and Mahoney’s bridges can now carry B-Double trucks and emergency services vehicles, allowing the Country Fire Authority safe access to at least 25 properties which were unreachable during flood events. 

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the upgrades extended the lifespan of the structures, minimising future maintenance work.

“The Federal Liberal and Nationals Government is investing $640 million in the Bridges Renewal Program from 2015-16 to 2022-23, to support the repair and replacement of bridges right across the nation,” Mr McCormack said.

“The Stewarts Bridge Road Three Bridges Replacement project will improve safety and access for those travelling in and out of the area.

“It forms part of the Federal Government’s record $100 billion pipeline of infrastructure projects getting Australians to where they need to be sooner and safer.”

Victorian Minister for Roads Jaala Pulford said the project extended the lifespans of the bridges to 150 years.

“The load limits of the bridges have now been increased to 166 tonnes,” Ms Pulford said.

“Wallala Bridge’s load limit has been increased from 20 tonnes, Mahoneys Bridge from eight tonnes and Shackell’s Folly Bridge is now up from just five tonnes – so these projects will drive significant business efficiencies for the region’s agriculturalists and other key industries.” 

Federal Member for Nicholls Damian Drum said rural workers, commuters and townships which rely on tourism would appreciate the flow-on effects of more efficient and sturdy bridges.

“These bridges will increase productivity by boosting access to markets for our farmers and supporting tourism in our rural towns,” Mr Drum said.

“Importantly, the project will enhance safety within the community by providing easier access for the CFA.”

Moira Shire Mayor Libro Mustica said the pre-upgrade load limit of 20 tonnes for Shackell’s Folly Bridge and 10 tonnes for Wallala and Mahoney’s bridges restricted the agriculture industry’s growth potential.

“These works have now opened up the ability for B-Double trucks to transport grain, stock and supplies along Stewart’s Bridge Road to the main freight routes,” Cr Mustica said.

“We have seen only too well these past few weeks how important it is for emergency services to gain access to rural properties and the bridge upgrades now make this necessary safety requirement possible.

“Another positive is the anticipated increase in tourism with upgraded all-weather access to the nearby state forest and Murray River now available.”

The Australian Government provided $950,000 toward the project under Round 3 of the Bridges Renewal Program. The Victorian Government provided $300,000 and Moira Shire Council $600,000.