SAFER, more reliable and efficient freight journeys are being delivered across the Upper Hunter with three bridges being upgraded to allow unrestricted B-double access.

Minister for regional transport and roads Paul Toole said two new 70-metre-long concrete bridges crossing the Paterson River at Gresford and Lostock had replaced the two existing timber bridges, while another 39-metre-long bridge replacing the old timber Omadale Brook Bridge was on track to be completed next month.

“With the amount of freight moved across regional NSW expected to increase by 12% to 286 million tonnes by 2036, we are investing in infrastructure that makes a real difference for generations to come,” Mr Toole said.

“Through our $543 million Fixing Country Roads program, projects like these have unlocked regional job opportunities in construction, while providing upgraded freight routes to save time and deliver smoother, safer and more efficient bridges and roads.”

Member for Upper Hunter Michael Johnsen said Dungog Shire Council receiving funding to replace the two existing timber bridges across the Paterson River was a big win for the community and operators moving freight through the area.

“It means trucks using the Coulston and Spooner Bridges at Gresford and Lostock can travel with loads over 30 tonnes, while the bridges and approaches will be upgraded to a width of 4.6 metres for safer passage, especially for B-Doubles” Mr Johnsen said.

The projects totalled more than $4.15 million and were jointly funded by the NSW Government and Dungog Shire Council. The new concrete dual-lane Omadale Brook Bridge replaces an old timber single-lane bridge and has a 68-tonne HML capacity to ensure that Hunter Road remains a viable route for freight.