A new $12.2million bridge located on the Kamilaroi Highway near Wee Waa, NSW, is officially open and will provide a continuous 400km route for freight trucks carrying cotton, livestock, wool, hay and farm machinery.
In comparison to the old bridge, the new Tulladunna Bridge is 1.7m wider, 11m longer, is concrete instead of a steel framed bridge with concrete deck, and has no width or height restrictions.
NSW Minister for Roads Duncan Gay and Member for Barwon Kevin Humphries officially opened the new Tulladunna Bridge which crosses the Namoi River.
Mr Gay said Wee Waa is recognised as the cotton capital of Australia, with one of the country’s leading cotton warehouse and packing facilities, Namoi Cotton Co-operative, located just outside the town centre.
“We want to ensure freight movements in and out of the area are efficient because this keep costs down for freight operators, at the farm gate and has flow benefits through the community,” Mr Gay said.
“Prior to building this bridge, freight trucks higher than 5.4m or heavier than 42.5 tonnes were forced to take a lengthy detour via Narrabri, Moree, Collarenebri and Walgett along the Newell and Gwydir highways.
“The new bridge will save freight operators travelling to ports in eastern NSW up to three hours in travel time – significantly cutting costs for businesses and local farmers.”
The project involved building a new wider and longer concrete bridge with no mass or height restrictions, under the NSW Government’s Bridges for the Bush program.
Mr Humphries said the existing Tulladunna Bridge was built nearly 60 years ago and was greatly in need of a replacement.
“The old bridge was not only looking ‘worn out’ but was costly to maintain and was becoming increasingly unsafe for the 1066 vehicles travelling over it each day,” Mr Humphries said.
“This project has benefitted the local community in more than one way with it also supporting local businesses and provided 20 more jobs.
“Maintaining a strong regional economy means ensuring rural industries can get their goods from paddock to port as quickly and as efficiently as possible.”