Geoff Helisma, Clarence Valley Independent
The NSW Government has granted $30.8 million in funding to Clarence Valley Council (CVC) to replace 31 timber bridges in the Clarence Valley.
The council was successful with 31 of 32 applications to the Fixing Country Bridges (FCB) program. Staff wrote in the report to yesterday’s March 30 CVC meeting that it was “an unprecedented amount of funding for timber bridge replacements in the Clarence Valley over the next two years”.
The Australian Government’s Bridges Renewal Program also contributed funding towards six of the bridges; and one bridge – Chevalleys Bridge, Coaldale Road – received funding under the Natural Disaster (ND) guidelines, due to the fire damage to the bridge in late 2019. Clarence Valley council will contribute $611,873 towards 16 of the bridges included in the $33,738,604 bridge building project. To meet the project’s resourcing demands, staff have proposed the employment of additional staff: a project coordinator/manager (1.0 x full time employee (FTE)); a commercial/contracts officer (0.6 FTE) and three project engineers (3 x FTE).
“It is acknowledged that council will not have the capacity to deliver these works with our current project management resources,” staff wrote in the report to council.
“Within the grant submissions staff made an estimated allowance for project management costs of $1,280,750, being 3.5 per cent of the total project value.
“Staff have identified that the resources would be fixed term appointments for the duration of the program….”
However, staff warn that “as the project gets underway and design work is progressing, the resourcing requirements may need to be reassessed to assist with the physical delivery and programming of construction work”. Staff anticipate there will be “up to four projects being constructed concurrently”, requiring “at least two project engineers … to support the delivery of the project … three have been allowed for pricing purposes”.
Fixing Country Bridges program in the Clarence Valley funding breakdown:
Total Estimated Cost: $33,738,604
Fixing Country Bridges Contribution: $30,841,122
BRP / ND funding Contribution: $2,352,232
Council Contribution: $611,873
The council currently manages a total of 125 timber bridges.
This article appeared in the Clarence Valley Independent, 31 March 2021.