Bridge on Mt Lindesay Rd open to traffic
A MAJOR route into the Southern Downs has been made safer thanks to a $1million bridge now open to traffic.
New England MP Barnaby Joyce announced the opening of the upgraded Bookookoorara Creek bridge yesterday afternoon, giving tourists, emergency services and locals safer access to the area.
Mr Joyce said he was pleased the two-lane, concrete bridge could be delivered in less than 12 months.
The upgrade, about 25km south-east of Stanthorpe, is part of work on the Legume-Woodenbong section of Mount Lindesay Rd.
"It is one of the most contentious roads in Australia, that we promised to fix and are now fixing,” Mr Joyce said.
"It's a strategic transport link of the Darling Downs.
"This bridge is an important milestone in fixing this road, which had previously been a State Highway, and presented serious safety concerns to many vehicles like school buses and semi- trailers using the route each day.”
The new Bookookoorara Creek bridge replaced a 70-year-old, single-lane timber crossing.
Mr Joyce said particularly in the case of heavy vehicles, the previously narrow road had forced them to divert onto the unsealed shoulders of the road when passing each other with little room to spare.
"Built higher over the creek than the original bridge, the new structure also represents a major improvement on Mount Lindesay Road, particularly for emergency services vehicles trying to access the area during bushfires and other natural disasters,” he said.
"The project employed local contractors and suppliers where possible.
"It is important to ensure that local businesses benefit from projects like this one both financially and as a way of developing skills and expertise.”
Southern Downs Mayor Tracy Dobie said her council colleague Neil Meiklejohn had long been a proponent of upgrading the section of Mount Lindesay Rd.
She said the upgraded bridge was a win for the Southern Downs.
"It's another milestone completed for the work that was being lobbied for on the Mount Lindesay Rd,” Cr Dobie said.
"Upgrading this road opens up more possibilities in our region, particularly allowing for heavy vehicles to be spread across as many roads as possible.
"It also means if there is an accident on one road, users have more options in terms of access to our region.
"We get a lot of produce brought up to us from northern New South Wales and likewise we deliver a lot of stock to them so this is a great way of ensuring that interaction continues.
"Cr Marika McNichol is also continuing to advocate for upgrades to the New England Hwy in that part of the region.”
Cr Dobie said Southern Downs Regional Council would continue to collaborate with the neighbouring Tenterfield Shire and Scenic Rim councils on road safety campaigns.
Tenterfield Shire Mayor Peter Petty said the project demonstrates how a partnership between the three tiers of government - with each having contributed $350,000 to the project can deliver great results for communities.
"Managed by Roads and Maritime Services and Tenterfield Shire Council - with the support of the New South Wales division of the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia - work started on this project in February this year,” Cr Petty said.
For more information on the Federal Government Bridges Renewal Program, including current projects and eligibility criteria, investment. infrastructure, go to gov.au/funding/ bridges renewal/ index.aspx.