SAFETY for more than 190,000 vehicles travelling along Thunderbolts Way between Uralla and Bundarra each year will soon be "greatly improved".
Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall announced a $1.075 million State Government grant to construct a new, wider bridge at Tolleys Gully.
He said the new bridge would replace the existing 90-year-old narrow structure, which is on a bend of Thunderbolts Way.
“This grant will allow Uralla Shire Council to construct a new bridge a straighter road alignment, as well as undertake road works to modify the road and construct approaches to the new bridge,” Mr Marshall added.
“The current bridge is narrow meaning heavy vehicles often cross into the oncoming lane of traffic to get across.
“The current road alignment is also a problem with an awkward bend on the southern approach to the bridge."
Mr Marshall said these problems will be rectified with the funding, and ensure ratepayers aren’t pouring money into an existing bridge which isn’t fit for purpose.
All of the other Uralla Shire Council owned bridges on Thunderbolts Way have been assessed as suitable for HML B-Double trucks.
Council is discussing with Transport for NSW suitable HML B-Double arrangements for the state owned Lone Pine Bridge over the Gwydir River north of Bundarra.
Uralla Shire Mayor Mick Pearce thanked the State Government for funding the Tolleys Gully Bridge upgrade.
“The new bridge will both provide safer passage and reduce costs to ratepayers in annual maintenance costs over the next 40 years,” he said.
“It will allow Uralla and the greater region to capitalise on the economic growth opportunities which will come from future heavy mass vehicle B-Double movements through the New England region and beyond.
“Council has put forward $25,000 of its own funds to ensure diggers are on the ground and work gets underway on the Tolleys Gully Bridge during the next financial year.”