Five road bridges in Byron Shire are about to be replaced with surplus stock from the Australian Army at a cost of $2.5 million.
The latest Fixing Country Roads funding round will rebuild Scarrabelottis, James, Booyong, O’Mearas and Parkers bridges.
The project will see the existing timber bridges dismantled and replaced with five surplus Australian Defence Force steel bridges.
It will increase the load limit on all of the bridges to 44 tonnes. Currently several of them have load limits of just five tonnes or even less.
O’Mearas Bridge on Binna Burra Road has undergone some remediation works following floods in June last year but still remains partially closed.
Ben Franklin, parliamentary secretary for Northern NSW, told Echonetdaily, ‘Byron Shire Council hopes to award the contracts in February and construction is planned to commence in March for a completion deadline within 12 months for all five bridges.’
He could not say in what order they would be completed, but added that they would be replaced ‘as quickly and efficiently as possible’.
‘Each bridge will take three to four months to be completed,’ he said.
‘Council will arrange for alternate routes during this time.’
All but Scarrabelottis Bridge have alternate routes.
Mr Franklin said the upgrade would reduce travel time by ‘an average of 10 minutes for heavy vehicles,’ which have previously had to take longer routes.
The projects will include road resurfacing on the approaches to these bridges, he said.
The funding will also provide much needed maintenance work to be completed on landscaping the sites including the clearing of vegetation, slope stabilization and the relocation of power infrastructure.