The island nation of Australia spans over seven and a half million kilometers. So it should come as no surprise to hear that when the Coalition came into government back in 2013, there were hundreds of bridges around the country suffering from years neglect and in desperate need of repair.
To fix the issue and ensure regional communities are not left inaccessible, the Coalition Government committed $300 million in 2014 to fund the Bridges Renewal Program. The program would run from 2015-16 to 2018-19 with the aim to upgrade and repair any bridges which would enhance access for locals and facilitate higher productivity vehicle access.
Former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, Warren Truss, said the program is also designed to give councils the support they need to drive greater efficiency in road freight, traffic movement and better serve their communities.
“We understand that local government has responsibility for thousands of local bridges, many of which are in a poor state of repair. Some councils face critical bridge issues beyond their capacity to address,” Mr Truss said.
“By upgrading these bridges, residents will enjoy better, safer and more reliable road access. Freight from farms and local factories will also be able to pass more safely along quicker routes, improving their productivity. It’s a win-win situation.”
February 2015 saw the first round of funding announced which delivered 66 new bridges to regional communities across the nation. In January 2016, an additional 189 upgrades were given the tick of approval, bringing much-needed economic and safety benefits to these areas.
A third round of submissions was met with 270 hopeful applicants seeking $270 million in Government funding, over half of which were successful.
And when you combine this with the State Nationals $210 million Bridges for the Bush initiative you find bridges get built. Just ask Carrathool Shire Councillor Margaret Merrylees who has been fighting for decades for a new bridge to replace the heritage 1922 truss structure which crosses the Murrumbidgee River: http://www.nswnationals.org.au/i_love_to_build_a_bridge_with_duncan