$9.7M funding boost to future proof river crossings in Dungog Shire
Published on 02 March 2023
Dungog Mayor, Cr John Connors, has welcomed today’s news of a significant Government funding boost that will upgrade 26 river crossings, improve capacity of culverts and replace the Shire’s last remaining local road timber bridge.
Today the Mayor joined Minister for Regional Transport and Roads, Sam Farraway, Upper Hunter MP Dave Layzell, and Councillors and senior staff on site to announce more than $9.7million to strengthen causeways, crossings and easements across the shire, including the replacement of Gresford Suspension Bridge over the Paterson River.
The funding not only means the long-awaited infrastructure project will finally be realised but also signals the final piece in a highly successful program of works to replace all the Shire's local road timber bridges with new, stronger and more resilient river crossings that will ensure safer passage for all Dungog residents and visitors.
“The replacement of Gresford Suspension Bridge has been high on Council’s agenda for several years following unsuccessful grant funding applications under previous rounds of the NSW Government’s Fixing Country Bridges Program, so this is welcome news,” Cr Connors said.
The 72.3 metre bridge connecting Gresford to an isolated community to the west of Paterson River will be replaced with a raised concrete structure that provides better access to emergency vehicles and larger vehicles and primary producer markets. The project will cost $3.7M.
“There are many families on the western side of Paterson River who rely on access over the bridge. There is a river crossing nearby which is critical for larger vehicles that can’t safely use the suspension bridge; however this frequently washes away during rain events, making access to primary producers and vital local services very difficult for the residents.”
This latest funding which comes jointly from the State and Federal Governments allows us to provide upgrades to low-level causeways and smaller bridges that regularly over-top during rain events.
Council will use the funds to roll out its River and Floodway Crossing Improvement Program which includes upgrades to 26 river crossings from the Upper Allyn through to Vacy, Paterson, Gresford and Glen Martin to name a few as well as upgrades to the culverts under Hooke Street in the Dungog town centre.
“Our main priority has always been to advocate for critical roads and infrastructure funding, so we are able to deliver these essential components to a standard our community deserves,” Cr Connors said.
The $312.5M Regional Roads and Transport Recovery Package – also known as the Betterment Fund - is a jointly funded by the federal and state governments and is designed to assist rural councils to invest in prevention, preparedness and capability development initiatives to ensure they are ready for future natural disasters.