A single lane bridge described as ‘the most dangerous in the Barwon electorate’ is gone and its two lane successor is open.

The bridge over the Namoi river at Tarriaro was built in 1976 at a time when traffic was light.

Now, the bridge carries a heavy volume of farming, mining, local and tourist vehicles far beyond that envisaged by the planners of 44 years ago.

Tyre skid marks on the approaches were a testament to ‘near misses’ as vehicles have approached simultaneously from either end.

Turrawan resident Leonie Grumley was long concerned about the potential for a serious accident at the bridge, and her concerns were given further impetus after an incident involving her son whose car was struck as he negotiated the bridge.

“He had stopped and a car ran into the back of him,” she said.

No blame was ascribed to either – the approaches and the single lane configuration lent themselves to a potential disaster.

“And there were heaps of similar stories,” said Mrs Grumley.

And bridge users could clearly see the skid marks as cars made last minute decisions when confronted with vehicles coming from the opposite side.

Mrs Grumley welcomed the long awaited construction of the two lane bridge. “Motorists will be a lot safer now,” she said. And the bridge will be more ‘farmer friendly’ for moving machinery, adds Steve Eather.

Meanwhile the expansion and diversification of the Narrabri Shire economy is reflected in many ways, not least in the volume of traffic on our roads.

The opening of the new Tarriaro bridge illustrates the changes – farming, mining and tourist traffic has increased exponentially in the last few years.

Tarriaro bridge is the ninth bridge replacement bridge completed by Narrabri Shire Council in the last four years.

The $2.5 million bridge has been built with $1,780,800 funding received from NSW Government’s Restart NSW program under the Regional Growth fund, and a contribution of $763,200 from the council.

The new bridge replaces the previous structure with construction increasing bridge specifications from 3.5 metres wide and a deck area of 210 square metres to nine metres wide and a deck area of 576 square metres.

About 1500 tonne of rock and gravel, 390 cubic metres of concrete, 1600 square metres of spray seal and 180 metres of guard rails were installed, council reports.

Mayor Cathy Redding said she is delighted to see the long awaited project completed.

“It will dramatically improve the safety of motorists and increase accessibility to and from the Narrabri region.

“This bridge has been a long time coming with the previous single lane structure built in the seventies reaching the end of its useful life as well as being a safety concern due to increased traffic movements on the Old Gunnedah Road.

“The project certainly has been worth the wait and I congratulate the council staff and contractors who have worked so hard in the design and construction.

Council’s director infrastructure delivery, Mr Darren Raeck is pleased with the final product and said ‘the new bridge will significantly improve traffic flow, allow for wide loads, heavy vehicles, and increase connectivity of freight to various destinations in and out of the Shire, and most importantly – increase the safety of motorists.

“Not only is the bridge a great asset for the Shire, the bridge was delivered on budget and under the allocated time frame according to the funding guidelines with council staff, led by road services team leader, Robert Bruce finalising the last construction elements of the bridge.”

And an official opening will be held in the near future.

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