Mar 29, 2010

Bridge upgrade will save time and money

Bridge upgrade will save time and money

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

March 29 2010

Truck drivers travelling through the Northern Territory will soon be able to cut hours and hundreds of kilometres off their journey following the approval of funding to upgrade the Illawarra Creek Bridge, with work expected to start later this year.

Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese today announced the Northern Territory project that will receive funding under the second and final round of the $70 million Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program.

“The Rudd Labor Government will invest $1.3 million to strengthen the Illawarra Creek Bridge near Top Springs, with the Northern Territory Government contributing a further half a million dollars,” said Mr Albanese.

“This investment will allow bigger, heavier trucks to use the bridge, thereby cutting travel times between Alice Springs and the Western Australia border by up to five hours. At present, trucks travelling along the Buntine Highway or the Victoria Highway have to detour via Katherine because of the bridge’s load restrictions.

“Targeted investment like this opens up more our road network to trucks, freeing up the movement of freight across the country.”

NT Transport Minister Gerry McCarthy said funding for this bridge strengthening project is in addition to the three new rest stops approved under the Program’s first round.

“Already we have completed work on these three new rests stop, with two located on the Barkly Highway and one on the Stuart Highway north of Katherine,” said Mr McCarthy.

“We’re working together with the Federal Government to address the lack of safe, modern rest stops along our highways, providing truck drivers with more opportunities to get the rest they need and making our roads safer for all users.”

The projects funded under rounds one and two were selected following consultations with the Northern Territory Government as well as the trucking industry.