New bridges on Frame Drive, Abermain and Sandy Creek Road, Mount Vincent are one step closer, with the Federal Government to provide half the funding.
Cessnock City Council will receive $2 million through the Federal Government’s Bridges Renewal Program to go towards the replacement of the Frame Drive bridge, which was closed indefinitely after the April 2015 superstorm.
Council will also receive $2.2 million from the same program to fund the replacement of Fosters Bridge – currently a one-lane timber bridge.
The funding is on a dollar-for-dollar basis, with much of this work expected to be met within council’s existing capital works programs – including associated roadworks, drainage, design, investigation and project management costs.
Cessnock Mayor Bob Pynsent said both projects were priorities for council and he couldn’t be happier with the news that the funding application was successful.
“I am so pleased with this result for our community as both of these bridges are in desperate need of upgrades,” Cr Pynsent said.
Estimated at $4 million, the Frame Drive Bridge project will include replacement of a single lane timber bridge with a two lane concrete structure – complete with pedestrian/cycle pathways either side and an open load limit.
Frame Drive had become a popular shortcut to the Hunter Expressway, which opened in March 2014, and the single-lane timber bridge’s load limit was decreased to five tonnes within months of the expressway opening.
But the superstorm was the final straw for the bridge; it was deemed unsafe due to instability.
Council resolved to undertake investigation and design work to have Frame Drive shovel-ready for grant funding opportunities, with the intent to upgrade the bridge to regional road standard.
A detailed survey is complete and a review of environmental factors, including a flora and fauna assessment and geotechnical investigation is underway.
Design of the road approaches either side of the bridge, along with the design for adjoining property access points, will start soon.
Fosters Bridge will be replaced from an existing single-lane timber bridge to a two-lane bridge (at a cost of approximately $4.4 million). This will remove the current 20-tonne load limit.
Both projects will be staged over two financial years.
Targeted completion dates will be known once the works are scoped and design and investigation phases of the project are completed.