Barnaby Joyce announces 11 bridges to be funded

NEW FUNDS: Col Murray, Barnaby Joyce and TRC project engineer Christian Bell.

NEW FUNDS: Col Murray, Barnaby Joyce and TRC project engineer Christian Bell.

ELEVEN bridges across the region will get a new lease on life, with the federal government providing $1.77 million to replace or upgrade the ageing structures.

Armidale Regional Council, Glen Innes Severn Council, Tamworth Regional Council and Walcha Council areas will all benefit from round three of the Brides Renewal Program.

Deputy Prime Minister and New England MP Barnaby Joyce said he worked closely with the community to identify key bridges for an upgrade or total replacement.

The Nationals leader said the improvements were set to increase connectivity in the region.

“This funding will contribute towards the cost of replacement or upgrade of bridges in the New England electorate, to create improved transport links for local businesses, families and school children travelling throughout the electorate,” Mr Joyce said.

Tamworth Regional Council will get $173,000 to replace the timber Middlebrook Bridge on Old Wallabadah Road with a concrete bridge.

Council estimates the Middlebrook Bridge upgrade will reduce the travel time for heavy vehicles by an average of 12 minutes and 19.4 kilometres.

TRC will use another $409,000 to replace the 40-metre timber bridge over Middlebrook Creek on Middlebrook Road, which will reduce travel times for freight by an average of 13 minutes and 19 kilometres.

Tamworth Regional mayor Col Murray said the money council saved from the grant would be rolled back into it’s own bridge renewal fund.

“That’s another $600,000 we have to spend on bridges,” Cr Murray said.

The funding adds to the $4.2 million already provided to eleven previous projects in rounds one and two of the Bridges Renewal Program.

A total of 186 bridges across the nation will be upgraded or replaced under this round of funding, Infrastructure and Transport Minister Darren Chester said.

“This will deliver social and economical benefits throughout regional Australia,” he said.

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