Bridge upgrades announced for the Mid North Coast

A new $2 million bridge for Bowraville could put an end to the town being cut off during flooding.

Four new bridge projects will be delivered on the Mid North Coast following the announcement of successful funding under round three of the Federal Government’s Bridges Renewal Program.

The Lanes bridge in Bowraville is among four projects in Cowper to receive funding under the program.

“Oh it’d be great for the town, especially when it floods,” Bowraville Hotel Licensee Shane Welsh said.

“We usually get cut off, often for three or four days, and then council has to come in and remove the logs."

The plan involves replacing and widening a two-lane timber bridge with a two-lane concrete bridge.

This will also allow for the increase in load limit from 44 tonnes to 166 tonnes and extend the useful life of the bridge by 100 years, allowing for improved community access during frequent flooding.

The government estimates that the number of days of restricted access due to flooding will decrease annually from 16 to five.

 At the moment, residents must make a 24km detour when the bridge floods.

Marion Winslow, who has lived in the area for 52 years, said her son knows all too well about that dreaded detour.

“My son owns a property behind the racecourse so he quite regularly gets cut off from us (in lower Buckra Bendinni),” Marion said.

“Every time it floods he has to go all the way around to get to his farm, so it’ll be good for him.

“Some of the other bridges around here, they flood in really bad rains, but that one floods with not too much rain at all.”

The local projects receiving funding under the Bridges Renewal Program are:

  • Lanes bridge replacement, Nambucca                    $1,000,000
  • Deep Creek bridge replacement, Bellingen             $645,000
  • Bardens bridge replacement, Coffs Harbour           $225,000
  • Turners Flat bridge replacement, Kempsey             $1,995,615

“The replacement of the four bridges will allow greater access for local residents and businesses, increase traffic capacity resulting in improved travel times, increase load limits for heavy vehicle access—removing over 140 kilometres of heavy vehicle detours and increase bridge heights allowing for improved community access, including during flooding events,” Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker said.

The Federal Government’s financial commitment in this round will be matched by successful councils, meaning the overall spend for the Lanes Bridge comes to $2 million.

There’s no word yet about when or how the bridge will be constructed, and residents may face a temporary closure of the original Lanes Bridge while the new one is being constructed.