TIMBER bridges will be a thing of the past as the local council aims to knock them off the books.
During the amalgamation in 2004, Tamworth Regional Council (TRC) had 67 timber bridges to fix and now there are just seven left that need replacing.
Next on the agenda is the bridge at Fishers Lane, with a $1.2 million build set to start soon.
It's simply beyond the capacity of the local council to fund necessary bridge upgrades, TRC mayor Col Murray said.
"It's so important being such a large commodity producer and a large livestock producer around our region, it's essential that our farmers are kept competitive," he said.
"These bridges need to be available for heavy transport."
The new bridge has a design life of about 100 years but could last for 150 or more.
The council has its own strategy to keep timber bridges in check, each is tested for its capacity to bear weight, along with visual inspections that inform its place on a priority list.
If there's another option within a 100 kilometre round-trip, it reduces priority, which is why Fishers Bridge has been on the back-burner.
Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson said the bridge replacement was being funded by the state government, along with five others in the Tamworth region including Warrabah, Hidden and Allambie.
"Right across the electorate including Gunnedah, Tamworth and Walcha there's 12 bridges in this current round of Fixing Country Bridges that have been allocated funding to be totally replaced or upgraded," he said.
"There's $7.6 million across those three councils.
"It's really important that these bridges connect our communities particularly outside our main areas."
The state government has dedicated $500 million to the program which will see more than 400 ageing bridges replaced.