State funding for the rebuild of Inverell’s Mathers Bridge has been increased to $3.1 million after quantity surveying identified a shortfall in the original $1.83 million grant, according to Inverell Shire Council General Manager Paul Henry.
The total cost of replacing the bridge has been estimated at $4.1 million, but won’t result in a rate increase for Inverell Shire residents.
“All other costs, such as traffic control and bridge approaches, will be funded by Council,” GM Henry said in an email to the New England Times.
“These costs will come from existing budget allocations. Council will not be seeking a special rate variation to meet the extra costs.”
GM Henry states that the cost increases are due to the rise in cost of materials and the shortage of labour, with steel concrete having seen a 100% and 60% respective price increase for the bridge itself, and pipes and bitumen for the approaches increasing 60% and 70% since the tender grant was applied for in 2020.
The amount and reason for the labour cost increase has not been disclosed by the contractor to Inverell Shire.
“Council does not get provided that level of detail,” GM Henry said.
The construction contract has been awarded for the Fernandes Constructions of Sydney, who completed the New Barrington Bridge over the Barrington River on Thunderbolts Way.
The current bridge is 63 years old, and is the last wooden bridge standing in the Inverell Shire.
After six decades of service, the old wooden bridge over Frazers Creek at Nullamanna will be replaced with a 32.7m concrete bridge, with the roadway widened by 1.65m to accommodate wider modern vehicles.
“This project will support the safe and efficient movement of farm freight across Inverell Shire and we are delighted the NSW Government will be providing the funds for this project,” Inverell Shire Mayor Paul Harmon said.
Cr. Harmon said that independent assessors were used to examine the condition of the bridge, and replacing the wooden structure with concrete will result in lower maintenance costs for Inverell Shire.
“This project will support the safe and efficient movement of farm freight across Inverell Shire and we are delighted the NSW Government will be providing the funds for this project,” Cr Harmon said.
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