A NEW two-lane bridge on Castle Carey Road is now under construction and is expected to take about 18 months to complete.
Costed at $5.2 million, the bridge will replace an existing single lane timber deck bridge which has substandard curved approaches and cannot carry heavy loads.
Early works have already seen a number of trees removed to make way for the realignment of the road’s approaches to the bridge along with stripping of topsoil on the eastern approach.
An excavator had also been on-site to prepare a hard stand area to accommodate a rig needed to carry out piling works for the bridge.
The new bridge will be a 67 metre long and nine metre wide two-lane concrete deck bridge that will be two metres higher than the current bridge, making it less susceptible to damage and road closure due to flooding.
The Federal Government has contributed $2.6 million towards the project through its Bridges Renewal Program. Corangamite Shire has committed $1.6 million, with the State Government pitching in $1 million.
Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford said the projected overall economic benefit from the upgrade is $9.3 million over 25 years.
“Upgrading the bridge will cut travel distances for B-double and Higher Mass Limit vehicles by 17.5 kilometres and means they will bypass the township of Noorat, making the town safer and quieter,” she said.
“Farmers will reap the rewards of this project, with more than 100 properties north of the bridge, as well as school buses and emergency vehicles, which will get a safer, speedier transport route.
“Fixing Castle Carey Bridge helps local farm businesses and their supply chains improve productivity and compete in international markets, creating the jobs and prosperity of the future.
“The new bridge is expected to save producers 6885 kilometres of travel every week – meaning agricultural produce can get from paddock to port more efficiently.”
Fill material for the approaches of the new bridge will start arriving on-site in the next fortnight.
The existing bridge will remain open to traffic while the works are taking place, with the new bridge expected to be completed in March 2019.