MORE money for bridges is a priority, industry body NatRoad says.

The 2019-20 NatRoad Pre-Budget submission backed the Australian government’s Bridges Renewal Program.

Chief executive Warren Clark said NatRoad’s endorsement of the program was due to the project’s aim in upgrading and repairing bridges for better vehicle, freight, and local community access, with bridges being “linchpins of the road system” and crucial to infrastructure.

As well as the Local and State Government Road Safety Package 2019-20 budget for the Bridges Renewal Program, the Australian government has allocated an additional $25m annually, $640m from the 2015-16 financial year to the 2022-23 financial year, and has pledged $85m every year following to replace and repair bridges.

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The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, which will be responsible for structural assessments of local government bridges, roads and culverts, has also allocated $8m to the renewal program.

“The infusion of funding to be controlled by the NHVR is a good start to the process of having proper assessments of vital bridge infrastructure,” Mr Clark said.

“These essential linkages in our road system must be given priority so that access to heavy vehicles is made easier and more efficient.”

As a condition of the funding, NatRoad called upon local governments to generate an up-to-date asset management plan under the Bridges Renewal Program.

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