Call for help to fix local bridges

By Angela Dorizas

Rural and regional councils in New South Wales have urged the State Government to extend the timber bridge replacement program.

The Shires Association of New South Wales has called on the Government to commit to funding the program until all bridges on regional roads have been fixed or replaced.

At an annual meeting of councils in greater western NSW, Shires Association president Bruce Miller said despite federal and state government funding for roads and bridges, councils were still facing a $6 billion infrastructure backlog and did not have the funds to replace crumbling infrastructure on their own.

”Providing our communities with safe infrastructure is one of our key priorities, so we’d like to see the Timber Bridge Replacement Program funding continue until all timber bridges on regional roads have been replaced,” Cr Miller said.

The Shires Association also called for the State Government to extend the bridge replacement program to local roads.

“It’s also important to remember that bridges on local roads can sometimes carry as much traffic as regional roads, so implementing a similar program to the existing State program already in place is a logical solution and will ensure a more safe and reliable transport network for local communities,” Cr Miller said.

“While we acknowledge that fixing and maintaining local roads is the responsibility of local government, we don’t have the resources to do it on our own.”

The Minister for Transport and Roads, David Campbell, did not respond to an invitation to comment on the issue.

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