Vital freight link gets flood-proofing upgrade

NSW says bridge on key regional freight route at Bundarra will be replaced to protect against flooding

By Brad Gardner | May 10, 2013

A low-lying bridge on a key regional freight route in northern New South Wales will be replaced with a new structure to withstand flooding.

Roads Minister Duncan Gay has committed $3.5 million to replacing the Emu Crossing Bridge at Bundarra on Thunderbolt’s Way, which connects Uralla on the New England Highway with Inverell on the Gwydir Highway.

The Uralla Council will chip in $100,000. NSW will provide the funds over two years, starting from next financial year, to build a two-lane structure capable of coping with a one in 50-year flood event.

The existing one-lane bridge was built in 1919 and is often closed to traffic during small floods, forcing traffic to take a 95km detour because there is no local alternative route in place.

"The movement of regional and farm freight along Thunderbolt's Way comes to an abrupt halt when Emu Creek is in flood. Overall, there are approximately 550 vehicle movements across the bridge each day, 30 percent of them trucks," Gay says.

"As a key regional freight route approved for B-doubles operating at general mass limits there are thousands of truck movements each year across the Emu Crossing Bridge. These trucks transport everything from grain to livestock, to farm equipment and supplies."

Gay says Thunderbolt's Way is the only direct freight route between the towns of Bundarra, Bingara, Warialda and Inverell to Armidale, including to Armidale airport.

"It is also the most direct and quickest route for the people of the northern tablelands to Newcastle," he says.

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