Member for O’Connor Rick Wilson MP has announced the Federal Government will commit $5 million towards rebuilding two bridges in the Shire of Williams.
Both of the bridges, which take Albany Highway over the river running through the town and provide a key link between Perth and the Great Southern, are overdue for replacement.
After speaking to the Shire of Williams about the need to rebuild both structures and redevelop the road connecting them, Mr Wilson contacted Federal minister for Transport and Infrastructure Darren Chester to request the project be funded as a matter of urgency.
At a meeting with Mr Wilson in Canberra this week, the Minister acknowledged the importance of completing the work and agreed to allocate funding through the Bridges Renewal Programme.
Mr Wilson said it was a great result for not only the Shire of Williams but the entire Great Southern and Wheatbelt, given the bridges serve as a key transport link to the metropolitan area.
“The heavy rainfall and flooding we saw in February caused a fair bit of damage to one of the bridges in particular, which is 80 years old and supported by props,” he said.
“Another event like that could easily have damaged the bridge beyond repair and disrupted traffic on Albany Highway for an extended period of time.
“The recovery from extreme weather events is difficult enough without the main transport route through the region closed to traffic, which exacerbates the economic impact of a natural disaster.
“We need to get this project completed as soon as possible and I’m grateful the Minister has made it a priority for the Government.”
Mr Wilson said he expected the State Government to commit the remaining funds required for completion of the entire project, including the associated works on Albany Highway.
Shire of Williams president John Cowcher said he was thrilled that the Commonwealth Government would invest $5m in the renewal of Bridges 24 & 25 in the Williams townsite.
“This investment in essential public assets is critical to the economic and social development of the Wheatbelt, Great Southern and Goldfields-Esperance regions of the state,” he said.
“The Shire of Williams thanks the Commonwealth Government for its commitment and Hon. Rick Wilson MP for his support of the project.
It now looks forward to the State Government announcing its financial contribution and the project proceeding.”