NSW Premier announces $140m bridge for Dubbo
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has unveiled the route and a $90 million funding boost for a new bridge at Dubbo in the state’s central-west.
The funding comes on top of a $50 million election promise to build another bridge, made by former premier Mike Baird and then-deputy premier Troy Grant in 2015.
The project will be designed to withstand a one-in-20-year flood and to improve freight movement.
Six options for the route were put out for public consultation, and almost 900 submissions were received.
Ms Berejiklian announced the preferred route as the River Street option, in Dubbo today.
“We are pleased that all the hard has been done and we are now looking to see the next stage of the project,” she said.
“I was so pleased to accept Minister Grant’s invitation to be here because I want to demonstrate with my presence we are about infrastructure in the regions, getting those projects done that have been talked about for a long time.”
Bridge to boost freight movement
Ms Berejiklian said the bridge would improve freight connectivity to the Newell Highway.
“I know this will make such a huge difference for this region, not just in relation to having another crossing across the bridge … but also to really help with the freight task,” she said.
“It [Dubbo Bridge] really is an important piece of infrastructure.”
Mr Grant, the Member for Dubbo, said the infrastructure was timely.
“The regional economy is in such good shape, things are moving across our highways in record numbers, so the task to not burden our city’s centre with heavy vehicle traffic, as well as completing the need during flood time, has never been greater,” he said.
Mr Grant did not put a timeline on the project
“This is a vital piece of work that will take some time, and that needs to be done properly,” he said.
Roads and Maritime Service executive director of regional and freight services, Roy Wakelin-King, agreed the bridge would improve freight movement.
“A big part of the solution is to ensure the freight moves freely around Dubbo,” he said.
“The overall project will consist of a number of configurations as we come up through the intersection and the Mitchell Highway.
“The bridge itself will be two lanes and also on the roads and the approaches as well.”
Consultation key, with some already concerned
Mr Wakelin-King said community consultation would be vital.
“There will be quite a degree of extensive engagement with the local community and the experts who are going to be involved in this project, including the industry,” he said.
But local business owner David Hayes said he already had concerns about the preferred route.
He said increasing truck movements on an already dangerous intersection was worrying.
“I do want to understand how the traffic will be turning onto Bourke Street at River Street because it is quite a significantly busy intersection now,” he said.
Mr Hayes did not think the chosen route was the best of the six bridge options.
“I was sort of secretly hoping that went across at Troy Bridge. I think that makes a lot of sense for heavy vehicles to go out that far and join the highway,” he said.
“Heavy vehicles, I would like to see out of town.”
Ms Berejiklian also announced $10 million for an integrated cancer centre to be built at the Dubbo Hospital.
It complements $25 million already pledged to the project by the Commonwealth Government.