The new $2.1 million Tillegra Bridge over the Williams River has opened to traffic, allowing heavier vehicles to use the Dungog crossing and save them a 46-kilometre detour.
Federal Member for Lyne David Gillespie said the single-lane timber bridge on Salisbury Road had been replaced with a 72-metre-long and 4.6-metre-wide concrete structure with modern safety barriers.
"The new bridge will improve the freight capacity of the route by enabling B-Doubles to access the Williams Valley, with an increased capacity of 20 tonne to 57.5 tonne," Dr Gillespie said.
"This bridge provides access into the Williams and Allyn Valley for agriculture and logging freight movements, so allowing heavier vehicles to use the new bridge will save drivers about a 46 kilometre detour from Salisbury to Dungog.
"This project is not only a win for farmers and freight operators, but also for the safety of all motorists who use this important link between Dungog and the communities of Brownmore and Salisbury."
State Member for Upper Hunter Dave Layzell said this project built upon the NSW Government's $25 million investment in May this year to upgrade and improve the Dungog local road network to better connect the region.
"A stronger road network means a stronger community, so it's great we've been able to team up with the Federal Government to deliver this key bridge despite the challenges of floods and a global pandemic," Mr Layzell said.
"Projects like this are critical to strengthening freight routes with the amount of freight being moved through regional NSW expected to increase 12 per cent in the next 15 years to $286 million tonnes.
"On top of providing eight jobs for locals, this project has also seen the timber from the old bridge dismantled by a salvage contractor for future recycling."
Dungog Shire Council Mayor John Connors said the new bridge was great for the local economy and would open up the Dungog Shire for local farmers, freight producers and visitors to the region.
"The new Tillegra Bridge will reduce travel times for trucks and heavy vehicles, which would have previously been forced to detour," Cr Connors said.
"It provides economic opportunities for our community through the transportation of produce and raw materials, as well as improving access for locals and visitors alike."
This project was jointly funded with $1.047 million from the Federal Government's Bridges Renewal Program and $1.047 million from the NSW Government's Fixing Country Roads program.
Do you have a local story to share with readers?
If you have an event coming up or some good news to share - we would love to hear from you. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call our journalist Michelle Mexon on 0417 572 594.