ONLY months after receiving a $2 million grant from the State Government’s Fixing Country Roads program, Uralla Shire Council work crews have been cracking on with bitumen sealing the Bundarra to Bingara Road.
Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall today praised council road gang staff on the “speed and quality” of their work, already sealing around four kilometres of the remaining 8.4 kilometre stretch of gravel road.
Council secured the $1.976 million grant in November last year and has also contributed $800,000 to widen and bitumen seal the final gravel section of Bingara Road, between Bundarra and Copeton Dam and Bingara.
Mr Marshall said the completion of the project would be a huge win for locals, farmers and tourists.
“Bingara Road has seen a huge increase in traffic in the last few years, as Copeton Dam has become a more popular holiday and recreation spot,” Mr Marshall said.
“Sealing the entire road will dramatically improve safety for motorists, but also allow farmers to run B-double trucks for the very first time, which will shave 50 kilometres off the heavy vehicle freight route and save everyone thousands of dollars each year.
“This ensures the road is able to carry the food, produce and raw materials that support the local community.”
Mr Marshall drive the road many times during the Christmas period and said that since receiving the funds he’d been impressed with the quality of the work and the speed at which it had been undertaken.
“Council is about halfway through this project and already it’s made a huge difference to the quality road and safety,” he said. “It is a real pleasure to drive on now – just imagine what it’ll be like when it’s bitumen the whole way!”
The works are also replace existing low-level bridges and culverts and provide all-weather access for larger heavy vehicles and providing an alternate access road between Thunderbolt and Fossicker Way through to the Gwydir Highway.
“With more non-local traffic on the road recently, there’s also been an increase in the number of accidents on the gravel section, so having the road sealed the whole way will make it even easier for people to get to and from Copeton Dam safely,” Mr Marshall said.
Council has previously secured almost $5.5 million from the NSW Government to replace Emu Crossing, Abington and Mihi Creek Bridges, also on the local road network.
The Fixing Country Road program complements the Fixing Country Rail initiative, with both focusing on improving freight infrastructure and efficiency across the state.