Work to replace the 70-year-old single lane bridge across the Barcoo River on the northern outskirts of Tambo will begin this month.
Once completed, freight companies will no longer have to undertake a 185 kilometre detour when the river is in flood, and the community will have access to Springsure, Alpha and its airstrip at flood times.
According to Maranoa MP David Littleproud, its replacement at a cost of $7 million will improve freight access to unlock agriculture and mining opportunities in the region.
"Replacing this bridge will help connect regional businesses to local and international markets and better connect regional communities," Mr Littleproud said. "Improved and diversified access will also deliver substantial social and economic benefits, including greater opportunities for regional employment and business growth, injecting economic stimulus at a time when it is needed most."
The bridge is on the Dawson Developmental Road on Tambo's outskirts and according to Queensland's Assistant Minister for Regional Roads Bruce Saunders, it will be replaced with a wider, higher, modern, concrete structure with upgraded road approaches and additional drainage works.
"This project will improve access for higher capacity vehicles, increase flood immunity and connectivity between communities and provide a safer and more reliable road network," he said.
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It will involve crews from both the Blackall-Tambo Regional Council and RoadTek and will support an average of 23 jobs, which Mr Saunders said would continue to support Queensland's economic recovery from COVID.
Blackall-Tambo Regional Council Mayor Andrew Martin said the benefits of replacing the bridge with a contemporary structure would ripple through the local economy and beyond for years to come.
"The bridge provides critical access for our local commercial industry and ensures our community can reach essential services such as the Tambo aerodrome and the emergency support offered by the Royal Flying Doctor Service," Cr Martin said.
"Replacing the bridge with a wider and more modern structure will also ensure the flourishing mining projects in our neighbouring Central Highlands Regional Council area and beyond are supported by a more direct and accessible transport route.
"Importantly, our council crews will be delivering the road work part of the project, which provides continuity of employment for our workforce."
The bridge replacement is one of 22 regional construction works fast-tracked by the federal and state government last year and according to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack, is part of the Roads of Strategic Importance initiative to upgrade key inland freight corridors.
"The Australian government continues to roll out these types of major projects across the nation under our record $110 billion infrastructure investment plan, which is laying the foundations for economic recovery from the global pandemic," he said.
Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport Scott Buchholz said that as a former freight operator, he understood how vital these types of bridge upgrades could be for the efficiency and productivity of local transport companies and operators.
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Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the existing bridge was too narrow to accommodate many modern freight vehicles, including road trains, forcing many industries on a 185-kilometre detour.
"Queensland's economic recovery is well underway and that includes building better roads for the South West Regional Economic Development region, its $3 billion economy and 14,000 jobs," Mr Bailey said.
"The freight industry plays a pivotal role in keeping our economy moving and growing - we saw that during the height of COVID-19.
"We're backing them, backing the region and backing jobs with a new bridge and an overall $17.8 billion roads and transport program for regional Queensland."
The roadwork component is about to start with the bulk of works beginning next month.
The $7 million Barcoo River Bridge Replacement Project is jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland governments on an 80:20 basis, with $5.6m coming from the Australian government and $1.4m from the Queensland government.
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