Do you know Australia’s First Toll Road?
Did you know Australia’s First Toll Road was on a bridge built over South Creek in Windsor NSW in 1802? The bridge carried the new road across South Creek between the Hawkesbury settlement and Parramatta. In use between 1802 and 1814, it was a floating pontoon bridge built by Andrew Thompson, a settler and constable at Green Hills.
He took up a grant there in 1786 and opened up the area. Thompson was given permission to charge colonists to use the bridge as he had paid for its construction. Governor King contributed £15 and provided two convicts for a period of three months to assist in its erection in return for free travel across it by government officials, officers, and soldiers on duty.
The bridge was replaced in 1814 with a free-access low-level timber beam structure which, at 66m, was the longest bridge in the colony. Known as Howes Bridge, after its builder, John Howe, it survived until 1853, when a high-level bridge consisting of three laminated timber arches replaced it.
Since the early 1990s, the private sector’s involvement in toll road projects has increased. There are now 16 toll roads operating in Australia with a total length of 241 km. Most of these toll roads involve some form of Public Private Partnership. Eight of the 16 are in NSW, two in Victoria and six in Queensland. In terms of road length, NSW accounts for 41 per cent, Victoria 25 per cent and Queensland 34 per cent.
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