Lyndhurst's Leabeater Street bridge funding causes debate at council

BENT STREET: Residents at the bridge site last year. Council has debated how much funding to allocate to the bridge. Photo: MARK LOGAN
BENT STREET: Residents at the bridge site last year. Council has debated how much funding to allocate to the bridge. Photo: MARK LOGAN

Blayney Shire councillors clashed over funding for a $420,000 bridge replacement and road realignment in Lyndhurst at Monday's council meeting.

The council proposal for the Leabeater Street bridge confirmed the bridge is often inundated "from even relatively minor storm events".

While a council report recommended just $180,000 be spent on a single-lane bridge, the option for straightening the road and constructing a two-lane bridge was also put on the table with a $420,000 price tag - of which half could be paid for by the Federal government.

Council eventually voted 5-2 in favour of seeking funding for the bridge, despite strong opposition from councillors John Newstead and David Somervaille.

Both councillors acknowledged the need for the new bridge, but Cr Newstead said he didn't think council should be spending the higher figure.

"I can't see why we're so desperate to straighten the street up," he said.

"I know the people of Lyndhurst want a new bridge, but to spend $420,000 on it, my conscience can't allow that."

Cr Somervaille also asked why council couldn't build a "new bridge on the same alignment" for the cheaper sum instead of also straightening the road.

"I don't want to be applying for grants to build infrastructure which without those grants we wouldn't consider building," he said.

Mayor Scott Ferguson said it was "totally appropriate" to apply for funding from the Federal government's Bridge Renewal Program.

However, councillor David Kingham listed several reasons why the bridge needed to be straightened.

He said increased traffic from the highway due to the sealing of Leabeater Street would be faced with an awkward bridge, while it provided a "traffic hazard" to vehicles travelling from Garland Road.

Cr Kingham also said the bridge needed to be raised.

"It's the future link between South Lyndhurst and future development as well as the golf club, the rifle club and Garland [Road]," he said.

"The community wants it, I want it and we should all want it."

Councillor Bruce Reynolds added emergency services' use of the road and the potential need for faster evacuation in case of bushfire or other emergency was a factor.

Council voted 5-2 to seek the funding.