Kyogle bridge renewal program the big election winner
KYOGLE bridge upgrades are high on candidates' priorities ahead of Saturday's election as funding announcements from each major party will mean safer Kyogle roads, regardless of who wins.
Off the back of the Coalition committing $4 million to replace another 12 aging wooden bridges in Kyogle if re-elected, Labor announced $9 million towards the acceleration of the council's bridge renewal program, if elected.
Labor's Regional Services Shadow Minister Stephen Jones joined Labor's candidate for Page Patrick Deegan yesterday to announce the funding and further commit $2 million to help fix mobile phone blackspots along Summerland Way.
Over the past 15 years Kyogle Council has replaced more than 150 bridges that were unable to bear heavy loads or provide guaranteed access for emergency services.
Federal Labor's $9 million investment will allow the council to fast-track work on at least a dozen projects and over time to fully replace all the outstanding old bridges. The council would also be contributing a further $18 million to the replacement program.
Mr Jones said these upgrades are of vital importance to road safety.
"There are some projects that need to be put above politics, and upgrading aging bridges to ensure road safety is an example of that.”
Mr Deegan said the upgrades would not only provide safer roads, but also bring a boost for local industry.
"Better bridges will mean greater productivity for the region's important timber, dairy and livestock industries as well as easier movement for school buses,” Mr Deegan said.
He said works were expected to begin as soon as possible following the election.
Page MP Kevin Hogan said of the 12 bridges to be replaced under the package, 10 currently had load limits in place and two were closed to all traffic.
"Kyogle and districts have one of the highest number of wooden bridges in the state and many are in disrepair and dangerous,” Mr Hogan said.
"This funding will mean greater safety for school buses, locals and tourists. It will also greatly improve access to markets for our farmers and producers.”
Kyogle Council General Manager Graham Kennett said of the 320 bridges identified in the Kyogle Council bridge renewal program, there was 140 left to go.
Kyogle Mayor Danielle Mulholland welcomed the announcement.
"We are always excited to get more bridge funding because it means we can accelerate our bridge renewal program which is so important for local producers, residents and visitors,” Cr Mullholland said.
"These bridges would struggle to get up under the usual grants available so I'm so pleased to see this funding come through for this much needed infrastructure to ensure our communities' future prosperity.”