A narrow, single-lane bridge near Stacey’s Bridge, west of Yarram, will be made safer with funding secured by Gippsland MP Darren Chester under the Federal Government’s Bridges Renewal Program.
The Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester said the Albert River bridge on Albert River Road would receive $145,750 under round three of the program.
The 33 metre long, single-lane bridge will be duplicated, making the road safer for the local farming community and timber industry.
Mr Chester said he had worked closely with Wellington Shire Council to identify key bridges for upgrade and the cost of the $291,500 project would be shared.
“The Albert River bridge will become a dual lane bridge and make this road safer for all users,” Mr Chester said.
“The road is shared by timber and milk heavy vehicles, and the local community has identified it as a potential safety risk.
“The project includes work on the approaches to the bridge and the installation of guard rails. This will improve driving conditions for residents and local truck drivers.”
Mr Chester, who is also the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, said regular bridge users had expressed serious concerns about the bridge.
“Local transport companies have been lobbying for these upgrades and are worried for the safety of their employees and contractors. Traffic volumes are increasing and visibility leading up to the bridge is poor.”
Wellington Shire Council Mayor, Cr Carolyn Crossley said the Albert River Road was an important transport link not only for industry but also farmers and residents who all had to share the road.
“Funding the widening of the Albert River bridge is a win for the people of Stacey’s Bridge and others who use Albert River Road,” she said.
Jack River Fire Brigade and the Stacey’s Bridge Hall Committee have both thrown their support behind the project.
Jack River Fire Brigade Captain David McAlpine said there had been near-misses involving milk tankers, log trucks, heavy machinery and local residents using the bridge.
“One of the major issues with the bridge is that you can’t see anyone coming in the other direction until you are almost on it,” Captain McAlpine said.
“There have been lots of close calls and minor collisions on the bridge. It really does need to be a dual-lane bridge.”
Hall Committee Secretary Heather McAlpine said the committee also backed the safety improvements.
“The widening of the bridge is essential to help ensure the safety of everyone who uses it, whether they are local residents going about their daily business or heavy vehicle drivers working in the logging and dairy industries,” Mrs McAlpine said.
“Everyone should feel and be safe whenever they use our local roads and bridges.”
Mr Chester said the $162.53 million funding allocated in round three of the Bridges Renewal program was in addition to the $216 million committed under the first two rounds.
“The renewal and upgrade of 186 bridges under this round will deliver social and economic benefits throughout regional Australia,” Mr Chester said.
The Federal Government’s financial commitment in this round will be matched by the successful applicants.
For more information on the program, including a full list of successful round three projects is available at www.infrastructure.gov.au/bridges.