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New Palmer Bridge better connects residents and farmers

The upgraded Palmer Bridge opened today in Freestone, benefiting residents and the agriculture industry in the Southern Downs town.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the newly opened concrete single-span structure, which replaced the former timber bridge, would make meaningful a difference to the community.

“The new bridge is welcome news for local businesses, residents and farmers,” Mr McCormack said.

“The new bridge has a 100-year lifespan with a significant increase in load capacity as it now can carry 166-tonnes which will be of great benefit for local primary producers and transport companies.

“The new bridge supported 26 jobs during construction and is a great local example of how the Australian Government’s investment in infrastructure nationwide is supporting jobs and communities at a time when it’s needed most.”

Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management and Federal Member for Maranoa David Littleproud, who attended today’s opening, said the new bridge offered oversize access and a detour when the Cunningham Highway is closed.

“The bridge’s approaches have been realigned to better integrate with Freestone Road, which improves safety for all motorists including agricultural workers in the area,” Mr Littleproud said.

“The bridge has been widened from 5.5 metres to 9.2 metres and the height has risen from 4.8 metres to 6.15 metres, which means the bridge will close less often during flooding.”

Southern Downs Mayor Vic Pennisi said he was thrilled to see the region’s important assets updated.

“The Bridges Renewal Program really helps regional Councils like us ensure our infrastructure is maintained to the best possible standard,” Mayor Pennisi said.

“Projects like this one are testament to what can be achieved when the Australian and local governments work together. We couldn’t be more grateful for the assistance we have received.

“Palmer Bridge has been a part of our region since the 1960s and it’s heartening to see it receive this attention and care.”

Palmer Bridge, which spans the Freestone Creek, was built in 1964 and named in honour of Freestone’s Palmer Brothers. One was Mr W L Palmer, who was Deputy Chairman of Glengallan Shire Council (1957-64), having served on Council from 1939. Glengallan Shire was absorbed into Warwick Shire in 1994, which in turn merged with Stanthorpe Shire to form Southern Downs Regional Council in 2008.

The Bridges Renewal Program is an Australian Government initiative to fund the upgrade and replacement of bridges across Australia to improve access for local communities and higher productivity vehicles.

The project was jointly funded with the Australian Government committing $1.494 million and Southern Downs Regional Council $1.504 million.


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