An example of the degraded state of some timber bridges in the Kyogle Local Government Area.
An example of the degraded state of some timber bridges in the Kyogle Local Government Area. Contributed

Kyogle banking on Hogan, Truss to secure funding for bridges

DESPITE the increasingly dangerous state of its bridges, Kyogle Council has missed out on funding in the first round of the Federal Government's Bridges Renewal Program.

The local government area's (LGA) mayor, Danielle Mulholland, said the council had been informed by the Department of Infrastructure that its application was inadequate.

This was because the $300 million program's funding criteria was mainly targeted at "heavy vehicle groups", according to the mayor.

"We missed out completely," she said.

"I believe the applications themselves were mainly for heavy vehicle groups and the criteria focused on these heavy vehicle groups."

Cr Mulholland conceded council staff are becoming increasingly worried a bridge collapse may lead to injury or death.

A map showing bridges that have load limits or are entirely out of action in the Kyogle council area.
A map showing bridges that have load limits or are entirely out of action in the Kyogle council area.

"I think every council has this concern when you've got the infrastructure that we've got," she said.

Cr Mulholland said the council is pushing for a change in the funding criteria, but will also tailor its applications to try to meet current criteria if necessary.

"I would really think this program is made for Kyogle Shire," she said.

"Kevin Hogan's gone to bat for us and I believe Warren Truss is also going to bat.

"Specifically, they (the department) can change the criteria.

"Obviously it's difficult for us to meet the current criteria the program is framed around."

Cr Mulholland said the setback was unfortunate, but should help the council prepare a solid application for the next round of funding, due later this year.

She noted the council will stay in constant contact with the department to request "massaging" of the criteria, but also to check any further applications are sound.

Page MP Kevin Hogan was well aware of the dire state of Kyogle's bridges.

"I'm working with Kyogle to ensure they're successful in round two," he said.

"The recommendations for the first round from the department will be made soon. The second round will be opened almost immediately after this."

Lismore City Council successfully received a grant of $875,000 for a new bridge and road in South Lismore.

About 70 of the LGA's 205 timber bridges are more than 60-years old and need maintenance or replacement.