Regional communities across the state are set to benefit from the first round of the NSW Nationals in the state government’s $500 million Fixing Country Bridges program.

NSW Nationals Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke is encouraging councils to apply for funding to replace priority bridges.

“Bridges are a vital part of the road network across the Cootamundra electorate, and I am encouraging all councils across the electorate to nominate eligible timber bridges for replacement through this program,” Ms Cooke said.

“The first round of Fixing Country Bridges is now open and recognises that maintenance of ageing timber bridges across regional NSW is a major burden for local councils and ratepayers.”

Ms Cooke said the investment would help keep communities connected and would boost economic and social development in the bush.

“Regional councils maintain more than 1800 timber bridges across NSW, some of which are more than 80 years old and reaching the end of their life,” Ms Cooke said.

“We promised to help councils replace hundreds of those bridges with structures that are safer and more resilient to natural disasters like bushfire – and now we’re delivering on that commitment.

“This unprecedented funding commitment to repair NSW’s worst timber bridges will increase resilience of bridge stock across the state and deliver a safe and modern road network for generations to come.”

Applications under Round 1 of the Program will close on September 24, with successful projects announced in late 2020.

Transport for NSW will soon hold discussions with councils to walk through the program guidelines, prioritisation framework and application process.

Information on Fixing Country Bridges funding criteria, program guidelines and how to submit an application can be found at nswroads.work/fixingcountrybridges.