NSW puts up bridge fund
The NSW Government has provided funding to fix the state’s 1,800 wooden bridges.
Hundreds of bridges, including some which are more than 100 years old and in poor condition, are expected to be patched, reinforced and repaired under the NSW Government’s $500 million Fixing Country Bridges program.
Local Government NSW is claiming it as a win after years of lobbying.
“Local governments are eager to invest in infrastructure, such as timber bridges and cycleways, to support a locally led economic recovery from COVID-19,” LGNSW president Linda Scott said this week.
“There are about 1800 timber bridges across NSW, with councils being responsible for the maintenance of more than 1600 of them. Many timber bridges were built in the 1940s and 50s and are in poor condition.
“They are critical components of local transportation infrastructure as well as the State’s freight industry, worth $66 billion annually.
“LGNSW jointly sponsored the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia’s (IPWEA) and NSW Roads and Transport Directorate 2019 Timber Bridge Management Report, which identified more than 400 timber bridges as being in urgent need of replacement.
“Today’s funding announcement is the outcome of LGNSW’s advocacy, which secured this commitment from the NSW Government during the NSW election.”
The Fixing Country Bridges program is part of $1 billion in 2019 State election funding promises including $543 million for the Fixing Local Roads program.
“Since then councils have been hit with incredible economic challenges including drought, bushfires and the coronavirus pandemic,” Cr Scott said.
“As a result, we were able to see fast tracking of a lot of the promised funding we have been calling for.
“In July, the NSW Government announced $250 million for 258 council projects as part of its Fixing Local Roads program, which is ten times what it was originally budgeted for the first round of applications.”