Bridges for the Bush program
Improving road freight productivity in regional NSW.
In October 2012 the NSW Government committed to improving road freight productivity by replacing or upgrading bridges over the next five years at 17 key locations in regional NSW.
The NSW Government has made a commitment of $145 million, including $135 million of new money. In August 2012 the NSW Government made a submission to the Australian Government seeking half the funding of the approximately $290 million program.
Two priority programs to help manage ageing assets and provide the biggest benefit to freight productivity will operate over the next five years.
Program 1 - Higher Mass Limit (HML) bridge restrictions
Replace or upgrade the next 5 high priority HML deficient bridges on State roads
- Replace Kapooka Bridge on Olympic Highway. This work is part of the realignment of the Olympic Highway at Kapooka project
- New rail overpass in Gunnedah, South Street/Oxley Highway Gunnedah
- Replace Tulludunna Bridge on Kamilaroi Highway
- Widen existing bridge over Bemboka River (Moran's Crossing) near Bega
- New Murray River crossing at Echuca on Cobb Highway (replacement - being planned by VicRoads with NSW contribution expected to be approximately $60 million).
Program 2 - Heritage Timber Truss Bridges
Replacement of six heritage timber truss bridges (to HML standard) and upgrade of six heritage timber truss bridges to provide ongoing safe service levels.
The NSW road network is critical to the movement of freight in Australia. Half the nation's road freight and three quarters of all interstate road freight journeys are on NSW roads. With the road freight task predicted to nearly double by 2030, significant investment in the NSW road network is required to meet the demand for increased access of larger, safer and heavier freight vehicles.
Addressing the state's deficient rural bridges is a key priority for NSW investment as the bridges currently present the most critical restrictions to freight access.
The Bridges for the Bush initiative will enhance freight productivity in country NSW. It is an investment in critical infrastructure to remove a number of significant freight pinch points or bottlenecks on the state road network and to improve the safety and reliability of some old bridge structures. The replacement or upgrade of five Higher Mass Limit deficient bridges alone will remove 8,000 heavy vehicle trips from the freight task each year. This will save the state more than $200 million in economic, social and environmental costs over the next 30 years.
Furthermore once replaced, Roads and Maritime anticipates all these bridges will have significantly reduced annual recurrent maintenance costs.