Moree Plains Shire Council’s Director Engineering Ian Dinham, left, Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall and Mayor Katrina Humphries discuss the funding to assess 15 local concrete bridges.
MEMBER for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall said that $100,000 in State Government funding for Moree Plains Shire Council would help it undertake a structural assessment of 15 concrete bridges and pave the way for important freight routes to be opened up for heavy vehicle access.
Mr Marshall said the analysis, which Moree Plains will contribute $70,000 to, will be funded through the government’s new Fixing Country Roads program.
“This analysis and subsequent opening up of the bridges would greatly improve the freight transport efficiency in the region, saving hundreds of kilometres in extra trips, increase road safety and ultimately reduce costs for our local primary producers,” Mr Marshall said.
“I commend Moree Plains Shire Council for wanting to open up more routes for Higher Mass Limits (HML) use and am very pleased they now have the funds to undertake the required analysis.”
Mr Marshall said that over the last 30 years council had upgraded most of its timber bridges to concrete structures, however, due to various factors 15 of these concrete bridges no longer have design plans, therefore making it impossible to carry out a desktop load rating assessment.
“This has resulted in a number of key freight routes in Moree Plains Shire being unable to be opened to higher productive vehicles such as AB-triples and B-triples as council is unaware of the structural capacity of these bridges,” he said.
A level 3 structural inspection of the nominated bridges will allow Council to either open the applicable roads or to program the bridge for renewal works.”
Council’s Director of Engineering Services Ian Dinham said the 15 bridges would be physically load tested to determine their load rating through level 3 bridge inspections.
“This will provide Council with a detail report on the relevant bridge components including their condition and structural adequacy plus recommendations on suitable management options to sustain the bridge asset,” Mr Dinham said.
This would also include recommendations on the work required to improve the bridges, if required, so that they are suitable for AB-triple road trains at the minimum.”
The Level 3 Bridge Inspections will be conducted by a specialised bridge inspector under the guidance of Moree Plains Shire as the project manager. The scope of works also includes any minor bridge works before opening them to higher productive vehicles