Engineering consultancy sees bridges program kicking goals


Ageing infrastructure is being brought up to standard for modern truck use, pitt&sherry says

Engineering consultancy sees bridges program kicking goals
Andrew Sonnenberg points to the initiative's value.

 

Engineering consultancy pitt&sherry has given the Federal Government’s Bridges Renewal Program the thumbs up.

The firm says the initiative is delivering a much-needed boost for asset owners dealing with deteriorating infrastructure under their control.

Round one of the program has resulted in $114 million being committed to bridge renewal projects nationally, with plans to commit $300 million over five years and the launch the next round of funding later this year.

The company says the project is designed to bolster the productivity of Australia’s local bridges for local communities and improve the efficiency of road freight and traffic movement.

"Local governments around Australia have expressed significant concern about the quality, function and capacity of ageing bridges in their jurisdictions," its national bridge leader, Andrew Sonnenberg, says.

"It is pleasing that the Australian Government has recognised this issue and is working to address it.

"The commitment is already showing that it has the potential to enable local governments and road authorities to ease their concerns."

In New South Wales more than 100 applications were submitted in round one, with 29 bridges across the state receiving $25.8 million in Federal funds for bridge upgrades.

In Victoria, 18 applications were successful and $12.8 million in funding will be provided through the programme.

In Queensland, 17 bridges will be upgraded, utilising $53.36 million in federal funds. In the remaining states and territories, a further 19 applications were awarded more than $20 million in funding for bridge projects.

Pitt&sherry says it has been engaged by several bridge asset owners across Australia to provide expertise on projects where such government funding had been allocated or has been applied for.

The company is working with Corangamite Shire Council in Victoria, which gained more than $1.6 million in funding to replace the Castle Carey road bridge by upgrading the structure from a two-lane timber bridge to a wider two-lane bridge with new approaches and a straighter alignment.

"The Castle Carey Road Bridge was an example of an ageing timber structure that was no longer up to standard in terms of its condition, capacity and approach road geometry – B-double trucks were prohibited from using the bridge due to these concerns," Sonnenberg says.

"We will be working closely with council to achieve a cost-effective replacement for the existing bridge that will deliver a much-needed upgrade that enables the structure to serve the community in a safer and more efficient manner."

According to Sonnenberg, local governments, which have undertaken comprehensive inspections of their bridges before making an application, are better positioned to secure funding.

"By being a proactive asset owner and conducting inspections of their bridges to determine the upgrades which are required, local governments will increase the likelihood of being successful with an application," he says.

"With the second round of funding just around the corner local governments or road authorities, which require upgrades to ageing infrastructure, should follow this example by preparing for their bridge upgrades."

Sonnenberg, pitt&sherry, Bridges Renewal Program,

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