Albanese commits to bridge upgrades for trucks

Rudd Government will pump funds into Queensland bridges to save truck drivers time and hundreds of kilometres in travel

June 23, 2010

The Rudd Government will pump funds into Queensland bridges in a move that will save truck drivers time and hundreds of kilometres in travel.

The Dogwood Creek Bridge, the Lockyer Creek Bridge and the Ampol Bridge will all be strengthened to allow larger trucks to travel on them.

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese says the Rudd Government is committing $8.9 million to the three projects, with another $800,000 coming from state coffers.

The federal funding comes from the $70 million Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program established by the Rudd Government to build new and upgrade existing rest areas and invest in road infrastructure.

Queensland Main Roads Minister Craig Wallace says truck drivers using the Warrego Highway currently need to detour via Dalby, St George and Roma because of weight restrictions on the Dogwood Creek Bridge.

He says the detour is "a longer route which adds up to 10 hours to a journey".

"Similar restrictions on the Lockyer Creek and Ampol bridges are forcing truck drivers to carry lighter loads when traveling between the Port of Brisbane and Toowoomba, one of Queensland’s busiest freight routes," Wallace says.

Albanese says the program has funded 34 new and 59 refurbished rest areas and nine new and 18 refurbished parking bays.

Another five new decoupling bays have been funded alongside upgrades to 16 current areas, he says.

The bridge investment in Queensland adds to 15 other strengthening projects announced under the program and 14 warning sign projects.

Albanese says truck drivers travelling through Canberra will also benefit under the program, which is bankrolling upgrades to the Ginninderra Creek bridges and two culverts in Mitchell.

"The engineering work we’re funding will allow Ginninderra Drive as well as Callan Street and Baillieu Court in Mitchell to be used by heavier trucks, thereby making it easier for drivers to get around Canberra’s northern suburbs to do their deliveries and make their pickups," Albanese says.

The Rudd Government has allocated $510,000 from the program for the projects, with the ATC Government spending $710,000.

Electronic warning signs will also be installed on dangerous stretches of roads in Tasmania to alert motorists of oncoming trucks.

The Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program will fund 10 sets of signs on the Tasman Highway and the Poatina Main, Esk Main and Anthony Main roads.

Planning work is due to begin soon and all projects are expected to be finished in the second half of 2011.

Opposition spokesman on transport Warren Truss has promised a $600 million program to upgrade bridges if the Coalition is elected. Half of the funds will come from the Federal Government, while another $300 million will come from state and local governments.

He says the Coalition will also spend $300 million over 10 years to build 500 new rest areas to help truck drivers comply with fatigue management laws.

Truss says the money will come from the Nation Building Program, which replaced AusLink as the the federal program for investing in transport infrastructure.

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