Building bridges to future

Kempsey Shire Council

Timber bridge funding

From the Mayor’s Desk

There are some projects that catch the public eye instantly, and some that quietly slip across our radar.

They’re all projects intended to help the community and as Mayor I have had the pleasure of presiding over many examples of both categories. That said, I can’t let our bridges be one of those unsung triumphs.

In all my time as Mayor, I’m not sure that there is anything that will bring me more pleasure than the announcement last week that we had been successful in securing grant funding to replace 56 timber bridges across our shire.

Outside of flood events, our bridges are a bit like our sewers: they go unremarked but remarkable in their importance. As such projects to improve them are utterly vital but often kept out of the headlines by more eye-catching problems or projects.

Last week was different. Last week the NSW Government announced that we had been successful in securing funding for 56 timber bridges to be replaced.

Yes. Fifty-six, it’s not a typo. 56 bridges will be replaced.

56 of Kempsey’s timber bridges have been approved to be made safer, more durable and able to withstand larger vehicle loads with Council receiving over $16 million under the NSW Government’s Fixing Country Bridges program.

The bridges will be replaced with concrete to allow for heavy truck loads, to improve access and safety for farmers, industry and locals, to be more resistant to damage from fire and floods and reduce the annual maintenance costs for Council.

In real terms this means dairy farmers with a far greater ability to get their milk to market, emergency services safe to do their jobs and school buses that can get through on more days of the year.

These are the sort of announcements that seem to come out of nowhere but are really the product of many, many years hard work.

Our Council has been working for many years alongside our neighbouring councils in our Mid North Cost Joint Organisation to pursue funding to replace our timber bridges.

Across the region, many of our timber bridges are sadly showing the signs of age, weather and the impact of fires and floods.

Many years of campaigning has resulted in this heart-warming result. 56 new bridges to bring us all closer together.

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