The New South Wales government has announced a package of $1 billion dollars to repair timber bridges and reclaim up to 15,000 kilometres of council owned regional roads.
The funding package intends to clear the council roads maintenance backlog and enable rapid improvements to regional roads and bridges.
The package, which was announced by Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey, includes the establishment of a Fixing Local Roads program and a Fixing Country Bridges program, both worth $500 million.
“This unprecedented funding commitment will change the face of road ownership in NSW and remove the heavy burden from our local ratepayers,” Bariaro said.
Deteriorating timber bridges are one of the largest ongoing cost for regional councils in NSW.
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“Regional councils currently maintain over 1800 timber bridges,
Through the $500 million Fixing Country Bridges Program councils will be asked to nominate bridges that are currently rated in poor condition to be included in the fund,” Pavey said.
The fixing Local Roads program will work similarly, asking councils to apply for grants to repair, patch and seal priority local roads.
An independent expert panel designed to oversee the asset transfer process was also announced.