A RIVER crossing which cut access to cattle yards for graziers in the Far North for three months of the year has been upgraded.
The crossing on Bolwarra Road at Mareeba which provides the only access across the Tate River was impassable during the wet season, leaving up to 26,000 head of cattle unable to get to the sale yards.
The State Government today announced that the upgraded crossing was now open, allowing improved accessibility for cattle properties, their employees and contractors in the region.
Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said the upgraded crossing provided a safer route to cattle sale yards during and immediately following the wet season, enabling cattle to be sold to market at their prime weight.
“The Tate River Crossing on Bolwarra Road provides the only access across the Tate River, connecting up to 26,000 head of cattle to the sale yards,” Mr Dick said.
“Until now, this crossing has been impassable for up to three months during the wet season each year.
“This has represented a significant financial loss for the cattle stations that have to wait until April to sell cattle at a lower price than they would get selling them at peak condition in February. It also reduces the supply of beef to market during the wet season.”
Minister for Local Government, Multicultural Affairs and Racing Stirling Hinchliffe said the upgraded crossing would deliver immediate income increases to cattle property owners and their suppliers within the region.
“The community will also have better access to food, fuel and mail, as well as access to emergency services,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
“It also improves safety for road users by providing a wider, straight causeway with greater visibility.”
The project involved construction of a concrete base, pre-cast concrete box culverts, head walls, deck, and road approaches.
The State Government contributed $759,000 to the project, with Mareeba Shire Council contributing $741,000.