A new causeway is being built on Rimbanda Road between Armidale and Tamworth in New South Wales, to improve access for trucks and other heavy vehicles.

Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Darren Chester, said upgrading bridges in regional areas was often the answer to finding more efficient freight routes.

“Bridges Renewal has been a hugely successful program since it started in 2014-15, with $211 million invested in 204 projects across the nation under the first two rounds,” Mr Chester said.

“By working together with governments at all levels — particularly local councils which often need a hand to get big-ticket projects underway — we are upgrading and repairing bridges in all corners of the country.

“Better bridges enhance safety and access for local communities, and keep local businesses and the road freight sector powering on — delivering dollars into the pockets of local businesses and supporting local jobs.”

Acting Prime Minister and Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce, said heavy vehicles needing to access properties on the southern side of the gully were currently forced to travel about 45km further on an alternative route rather than the more direct Rimbanda Road.

“The new causeway will replace an existing load limited narrow single span timber bridge which crosses Carlisles Gully, about 1.3km from the New England Highway,” Mr Joyce said.

“After the works are completed the road will be an alternative route for B-doubles, providing a higher mass limit route for heavy vehicles and taking trucks off the New England Highway.

“Our Bridges Renewal Programme is really making a big difference to communities around the nation such as in the surrounding areas of Kentucky, Blaxland, Walcha Road and Bendemeer, keeping them connected and boosting the productivity of local industries.”

Tamworth Regional Council Mayor, Col Murray, said the Rimbanda Road project was the latest example of the success of the council’s Timber Bridge Management Strategy, which has resulted in the replacement of 20 timber bridges since 2012.

“We have made significant progress on bridge infrastructure improvements in recent years,” Mr Murray said.

This year council has set aside $2.3 million to replace up to nine more timber bridges and we have applied for matching funding from the Australian Government through Round Three of the program to allow us to replace more bridges.”

Construction work will take around four weeks to complete and will include demolition of the existing timber bridge and concrete causeway, as well as construction of a new 50m long reinforced concrete causeway with a low flow channel.

Works will also include excavation of the heavily silted gully and reinstatement of the low flow channel immediately downstream of the existing timber bridge.

The $165,000 Rimbanda Bridge Replacement project is jointly funded with the Australian Government providing $82,500 under the Bridges Renewal Programme round two and Tamworth Regional Council providing $82,500.

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