MANILLA is set to get a second Namoi River crossing, with the announcement of an $8.7 million bridge.
The town’s 130-year-old Manilla Street bridge is so narrow it becomes a one-way thoroughfare when a truck crosses it, bottlenecking traffic as other motorists are forced to wait.
The new bridge will cross the Namoi from Arthur Street, where it will join Lloyd Street and return to the Fossickers Way.
Close to a million tonnes of freight cross the 110-metre bridge annually, and it’s hoped the new bridge will ease the heavy-vehicle congestion in Manilla’s CBD.
The state government committed $7.89 million to the low-level bridge, while Tamworth Regional Council kicked in a 10 per cent contribution.
Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson said more than 120,000 vehicles used the Manilla Street bridge every year.
“It’s great news for the locals who want to go about their day-to-day business and not have to compete with heavy freight vehicles,” Mr Anderson said.
“The proposed $8.7 million low-level bridge will save an estimated 48,000 kilometres and more than 6800 hours of travel each year.
“I look forward to seeing the benefits for local contractors in the short term and the growth it will provide businesses in the region in the long term.”
Tamworth councillor and long-time Manilla resident Jim Maxwell said he’d been campaigning for a second bridge since 1985.
“The existing bridge, which crosses the Namoi River from Manilla Road, is narrow and does not permit more than one heavy vehicle to cross at a time,” Cr Maxwell said.
“A new low-level crossing will provide a key piece of infrastructure that will enable future economic development for the region while improving the safety and day-to-day living for locals and tourists.
It’s hoped construction on the bridge will start in the new financial year. It is expected to take about 12 months to complete.