Bridge upgrade cuts truck travel time


NT bridge to be upgraded to cut up to five hours off truck trips between Alice Springs and WA

March 29, 2010

Work will begin later this year to upgrade a key bridge used by truck drivers in the Northern Territory, potentially saving drivers hundreds of kilometres in travelling time.

Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese today announced a $1.3 million investment in Illawarra Creek Bridge. The Northern Territory Government will spend $500,000.

The money comes from the Rudd Government’s $70 million Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program, which has been used to bankroll new rest areas and upgrades to current ones.

"This investment will allow bigger, heavier trucks to use the bridge, thereby cutting travel times between Alice Springs and the Western Australia border by up to five hours," Albanese says.

"At present, trucks travelling along the Buntine Highway or the Victoria Highway have to detour via Katherine because of the bridge’s load restrictions."

In a sign governments will focus more on bridge upgrades to unlock productivity gains, Albanese says targeted investment is the answer to granting greater access and freeing up the freight task.

NT Transport Minister Gerry McCarthy says funding for the bridge strengthening project is in addition to the three new rest stops approved under the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program.

"Already we have completed work on these three new rests stop, with two located on the Barkly Highway and one on the Stuart Highway north of Katherine," Mr McCarthy says.

He says both governments are now working to fix the lack of safe modern rest stops on the highway to give drivers more opportunities to pull over.






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