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Regional road connections in the Blayney Shire received a boost today with the official opening of the new Browns Creeks Road Bridge, about 20 kilometres south of Orange.

Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister and Federal Member for Calare Andrew Gee said the $1.49 million project replaced the old single-lane timber bridge over Browns Creek with a new two-lane concrete bridge featuring realigned road approaches and safety barriers.

“The new bridge’s capacity has also been increased from 10 tonnes to 166 tonnes, thereby removing the need for heavy vehicles to travel an additional 28 kilometres on average in order to avoid the old bridge,” Mr Gee said.

“By providing heavy vehicle operators with much improved access to businesses and properties in the area, the new, wider, higher-capacity and safer bridge represents a major boon for local manufacturing and retail businesses, and all those involved in getting livestock and other agricultural products to market.”

State Member for Bathurst Paul Toole said the project will also benefit other members of the local community.

“As the bridge has a higher load capacity, large heavy vehicles such as those used for emergency, waste and recycling services will also be able to travel more safely and quickly around the region,” Mr Toole said.

“The bridge will also allow the expansion of the green-waste recycling facility servicing the Orange region, thereby increasing the number of local employment opportunities.”

Blayney Shire Council Mayor Scott Ferguson said the new bridge replaces the original single lane timber bridge which was weight restricted and was a significant barrier to transport options for the farming and business community along Browns Creek road and beyond.

“The new bridge is a multi-million dollar investment in improving the safety and productivity of our rural residents and visitors alike and could only have happened with the significant support of the state and federal governments,” Cr Ferguson said.

“With the increased use of heavy vehicles improving the efficiencies of our rural sector, this new bridge opens up access to a part of our shire that we never had before and is very much appreciated by our farming community and residents alike.”

The Australian Government contributed $745,000 to the project through Round 3 of the Bridges Renewal program, while the NSW Government contributed $749,447 through Round 3 of the Fixing Country Roads program.