Agony over for Minneys Bridge residents
A FRUSTRATING two-year wait for rural residents and businesses on the Clarence Way in Kyogle Shire has come to an end with the opening of Minneys Bridge yesterday.
Since the old timber bridge failed in February 2014 the community had been forced to drive through the Minneys Creek riverbed or take a circuitous 45km detour.
Local Evelyn Edwards said yesterday was a day of jubilation for her community.
"There is a lot of industry down here that probably a lot of people don't know about it, we've got Yugilbar Station, we've got the Balund-a Correctional Facility, we've got Mara Seeds," Ms Edwards said.
"The bridge has been out of action for almost exactly two years now, and we've been driving through Minneys Creek. Of course as soon as in the wet season we get 25mm or more, we're cut off completely."
"A lot of people on this road work, and also trying to conduct our businesses, we've got the plumber down her, our own steel fabrication business, earthmoving."
"It has collectively cost our community a lot of money."
Ms Edwards said the community very grateful to Kevin Hogan for securing the funding.
Kyogle mayor Mulholland said it was a day of "closure" for the community west of the Richmond Ranges.
"Obiously (the detour) caused challenges particularly in terms of access to emergency services, so that wasn't good enough."
"We missed out on the Bridge Renewal Program (funding) in Round One, Council decided we weren't happy with that result, lobbied Kevin Hogan... made our pitch, got the criteria changed, which will beenfit all communities like Kyogle
"The proof is in the pudding, we just got seven bridges funded, and that's all the bridges we put in for the Bridge Renewal Program."
"We now have 186 timber bridges left to fund."
Mr Hogan said it was a great outcome for all.
"The new bridge will improve access for the wider community, as well as emergency vehicles and our primary producers who account for about 24% of traffic on this section of the Clarence Way."