Dungog Shire Council is set to start work to replace 23 of its 24 timber bridges.
Council has received a $16.44million grant under the NSW Government's Fixing Country Bridges program to help with the financial burden of the timber bridge network. The majority of the timber bridges are between 40 to 60 years old and, in some cases, much older.
Council has now completed a series of rigorous pre-construction activities and awarded tenders for work on three of the proposed bridge reconstructions - including Archinals, Mary Carlton's and Bruxner Bridges - together accounting for more than $3million of the project's total funding.
Minister for Regional Transport and Roads, Paul Toole, said after announcing the NSW Government's Fixing Country Bridge's program in Dungog in February, it was great to see construction starting on 23 bridges, which will improve connectivity across the shire.
"This will deliver 23 safer, stronger bridges that support families, freight movements and economic productivity for generations to come. It's an election commitment we promised and are delivering on," he said.
Mayor of Dungog, Cr John Connors, said replacing these old timber structures ensures a safer, more modern and resilient road and bridge network for shire residents and visitors.
"I'm extremely pleased to see work on this critical infrastructure project underway, providing improved connections to basic amenities, townships and jobs both within the shire and to the broader region," he said.
"Bridges play a vital role in our regional connectivity, supporting access to critical services such as hospitals and schools, as well as facilitating the growth and development of the Dungog community that has experienced untold challenges in the wake of COVID-19, summer bushfires, drought and the more recent heavy rains."
Council's general manager Gareth Curtis said starting this work will help to progress essential infrastructure upgrades for Dungog Shire.
"After undergoing all preliminary assessments and preconstruction works, council is now confident to proceed to the construction phase of this crucial infrastructure project for the shire," he said.
"We'll be starting work on these first three bridges in September and October, meanwhile taking tenders for Saxby's and Hopson's Bridges to the September council meeting, with a view to signing contracts and commencing work to upgrade those two structures shortly thereafter.
"Council has engaged additional resources to complete these important infrastructure works and we are doing everything in our power to progress Dungog's 23 bridge replacements as a matter of priority."
Fixing Country Bridges is a $500 million NSW Government program.
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