$500 million for timber bridge repairs available

Local Government NSW has welcomed NSW Government funding to fix NSW’s 1800 wooden bridges – some of which are more than 100 years old and in poor condition – which is now available to local councils.

LGNSW President Linda Scott said applications for the State Government’s $500 million Fixing Country Bridges program, secured as an election commitment as a result of LGNSW advocacy, are open.

“Local governments are eager to invest in infrastructure, such as timber bridges and cycleways, to support a locally led economic recovery from COVID-19,” Cr Scott said.

“There are about 1800 timber bridges across NSW, with councils being responsible for the maintenance of more than 1600 of them. Many timber bridges were built in the 1940s and 50s and are in poor condition.

“They are critical components of local transportation infrastructure as well as the State’s freight industry, worth $66 billion annually.

“LGNSW jointly sponsored the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia’s (IPWEA) and NSW Roads and Transport Directorate 2019 Timber Bridge Management Report, which identified more than 400 timber bridges as being in urgent need of replacement.

“Today’s (August 25 2020) funding announcement is the outcome of LGNSW’s advocacy, which secured this commitment from the NSW Government during the NSW election.”

The Fixing Country Bridges program is part of $1 billion in 2019 State election funding promises secured by LGNSW on behalf of councils, including $543 million for the Fixing Local Roads program.

“Since then councils have been hit with incredible economic challenges including drought, bushfires and the coronavirus pandemic,” Cr Scott said.

“As a result, we were able to see fast tracking of a lot of the promised funding we have been calling for.

“In July (2020), the NSW Government announced $250 million for 258 council projects as part of its Fixing Local Roads program, which is ten times what it was originally budgeted for the first round of applications.”

Cr Scott said she welcomed the official start of the State Government’s Fixing Country Bridges program and looked forward to continuing to work with them to address the total road, cycleway and pedestrian maintenance backlog.

Source: LGNSW