New Bridges Improving Freight Access in Hilltops

A 43-metre-long span over Wambanumba Creek is one of four recently completed bridges in the Hilltops LGA that will improve freight access and enhance road safety. 

The Wambanumba Creek Bridge was officially opened today by the Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke, alongside the Federal Member for Riverina Michael McCormack and Hilltops Council Mayor Margaret Roles.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said due to structural issues, the previous bridge had been out of action for some years, but now an important connection has been returned for freight vehicles, school buses and general traffic.

“This new bridge ensures around 150,000 tonnes of essential agricultural produce like farm feed, eggs, grain and livestock can be transported more efficiently,” Ms Cooke said.

The replacement Wambanumba Creek Bridge received $1.23 million in funding through NSW Government’s Fixing Country Roads program in 2019.

“In addition to this project, the NSW Government’s Fixing Country Roads program has also funded the $2.46 million Hannons Bridge on Murringo Gap Road, the $2.58 million Cudgell Creek Bridge on the Old Forbes Road, along with the $2.26 million Spring Creek Road bridge development,” Ms Cooke added.

Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Sam Farraway said projects such as Hannons Creek Bridge, which resulted in a wider concrete structure suitable for B-Double truck access, will help boost the local area’s economy.  

“The Hannons Creek Bridge project will reduce travel times for over 4,000 heavy vehicle movements a year, helping cut costs for the freight industry,” Mr Farraway said. 

“There will also be safety benefits as heavy vehicles can connect more directly with major routes and there will be reduced wear and tear on local roads.”  Since the commencement of the Fixing Country Roads program, Hilltops Council has received more than $17 million, including $10 million for bridge replacements, upgrades and repairs and $7 million for other road projects to improve freight access. 

Road Safety Improvements for Hume Highway as Part of Safer Roads Program

The Hume Highway is set to benefit from $815,000 in vital road safety works as the fifth round of the $822 million Safer Roads Program begins to roll out.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said the program, which is funded through the Community Road Safety Fund and delivered in partnership with local councils, will deliver 44 new projects and fund the continuation of a number of projects from previous rounds.

“This project is a big win not only for our local region but the many freight operators and interstate travellers that drive along the Hume Highway,” Ms Cooke said

 “This funding will go towards the installation of vehicle activated signs and safety barriers at Mundarlo to ensure road users are kept as safe as possible when travelling along the route.”

“The NSW Government is committed to reducing the road toll and it’s estimated the Safer Roads Program will prevent around 1500 serious injuries and deaths on NSW roads over 15 years.”

Minister for Regional Roads and Transport Sam Farraway said that the NSW Government is committed to reducing this trauma and that is why the majority of funding for the Safer Roads Program has been invested in regional NSW.

“Country people make up around a third of NSW’s population but over the past five years deaths on country roads made up 67 per cent of our road toll,” Mr Farraway said.

“We are investing $640 million into the Saving Lives on Country Roads Initiative, and since 2018 have committed to delivering 469 projects in regional NSW to help prevent the serious injuries and deaths of country drivers.

“During 2022/23, $89 million will be invested in the Saving Lives on Country Roads Initiative to fund 24 new regional projects as well as a number of ongoing projects in regional NSW.

“The Safer Roads program is estimated to prevent around 1500 serious injuries and deaths on NSW roads over 15 years.”

Statewide this round of the Safer Roads Program will deliver:

  • 32 kilometres of safety barriers, which absorb impact forces and protect vehicle occupants, reducing the severity of head-on and run-off-road crashes by up to 95 per cent.
  • 32 kilometres of rumble strips to alert motorists they are departing from their lane, reducing the likelihood of this crash type by up to 25 per cent.
  • 110 high-risk rural curve improvements including shoulder sealing, safety barriers, rumble strips, signage upgrades and line-marking upgrades.
  • 14 urban intersection improvement projects including roundabouts and traffic signal upgrades.

See here for the full list of successful projects in NSW.

Final Design Ready for New Bridge at Wallendbeen

The final design for the new permanent bridge at Wallendbeen has been completed and construction is expected to begin later this year.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said this is welcome news for residents and transport operators who have been living with a temporary single-lane steel bridge after a wet weather event severely damaged the original road-over-rail bridge last year.

“With about 1000 vehicles travelling along this road corridor in each direction every day, the new bridge will bring improved travel times as it returns a two-lane crossing to motorists,” Ms Cooke said.

“The new permanent bridge has been designed to Australian Standards for bridge design, and will be wider than both the original and temporary bridge, able to accommodate B-Doubles and even larger trucks.”

“Construction is expected to begin later this year. This timeframe allows for the tender advertisement and evaluation period, the contract award and site preparation.”

“Once construction starts, it is estimated the bridge will take about a year to complete, weather permitting.”

The original two-lane bridge was removed in March last year after being damaged from a wet weather event.

Transport for NSW installed a single-lane temporary steel bridge in October 2021 to get traffic back on Burley Griffin Way as quickly as possible.

The temporary bridge will remain in place while the new bridge is built.  

Transport will contact the community later this year with further information when a start date is confirmed.