Promised extra spending on bringing bridges up to a higher capacity will see an improvement for trucks in the network. 29 bridges across New South Wales are expected to be upgraded under the first to be fixed under the $300 million Bridges Renewal Programme. This should make it possible to extend the HML network to improve freight efficiency. Other road improvements for freight in NSW have also been announced, including better inspection bays for RMS roadside checks.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, Warren Truss, announced $28.5 million in federal funds will be spent on local NSW bridges. The Bridges Renewal Programme was designed to bolster productivity of Australia’s local bridges, including greater efficiency in road freight and traffic movement.
“The Australian Government received over 100 proposals from New South Wales, highlighting the importance that bridges play in local communities,” said Truss.
The program will include replacing one-lane timber bridges with two-lane concrete bridges. Freight from rural areas should be able to benefit from higher mass allowances.
“The value of these upgrades in small communities is directly reflected by the quality of proposals received from local councils, with 28 of the 29 NSW successful projects being from councils across the state,” said NSW for Roads and Freight, Duncan Gay.
“One example is the Harpary Bridge near Narrabri, which on completion will improve access to the Maules Creek Coal Mine and the nearby agricultural area, ultimately contributing to NSW and the national economy.”
$105 million is being spent in Round One of the Bridges Renewal programme, with a total of $300 million over the next five years.
Another $119.6 million in new road upgrades as part of the Australian Government’s Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Programme has also been announced. The Federal Government is to contribute up to 50 per cent of the total project costs for 27 projects across NSW. Six projects are on state roads and the remaining 21 are council controlled.
“Our competitive merit-based selection process has identified almost $120 million in funds for projects to make heavy vehicle use on NSW roads safer and more efficient,” said Truss. “Nationally, the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Programme will provide $200 million for projects through to 2019.”
Projects to receive funding include a package of works on the Golden Highway to improve inspection bays, level crossings and overtaking lanes; and upgrade of inspection bays in Port Botany and Western Sydney.