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Matters Of State - December 18

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

I watched on with interest last week when Dubbo Regional Council released the results of its survey into the River Street Bridge proposal.

Much has been said and written about the bridge concept since it was announced, and I feel it is time to correct some of the wrong messages that have been spread through the community.

I understand that politics is a tough game but, when it comes to this project, some people in the community have chosen to politicise the issue rather than just deal with the facts.

So, here are the facts.

Firstly, the River Street Bridge is not designed to ease the day-to-day congestion in West Dubbo.

Sure, it will be used on a day-to-day basis but its primary objective isn’t to mitigate the everyday issues. I will comment on that further in this piece.

River Street’s PRIMARY objective is to provide a second flood crossing for Dubbo to allow traffic to get from one side of a bulging Macquarie River to the other.

When the Serisier Bridge went under in 2010, the LH Ford Bridge was the only way to cross the river. It was utter chaos.

In the event of the next major flood that engulfs the Serisier Bridge, River Street will allow traffic to get into the northern part of Dubbo, and access the Newell and Golden Highways without having to divert through the CBD.

That is a win, and will alleviate the chaos we saw last time when every piece of traffic had to travel over the LH Ford Bridge and go via Cobra Street.

On the issue of congestion, the NSW Government and the Roads and Maritime Service have other plans that in no way, shape or form have anything to do with River Street.

Firstly, the proposed traffic lights at the intersection of Whylandra and Victoria Streets will allow the traffic flow to become much more structured.

When it comes to the concerns of some business owners in Victora Street, I am meeting with an RMS official this week to discuss those and hopefully find a solution that works for everyone.

The second part of our plan to deal with congestion is a ‘bypass’ from Tomingley to Eumungerie that will allow vehicles that don’t need to come through Dubbo to go around Dubbo.

Money was given to Narromine Shire Council to investigate what work would need to be done to upgrade the existing roads, and RMS officials have been researching the link as well.

It is believed that such a ‘bypass’ would drastically reduce the levels of highway traffic, heavy vehicles in particular, that enter West Dubbo and create the congestion.

Let it be said that neither I, nor the NSW government, are against the idea of a bypass or ring road and that is why we have spent money looking into the Tomingley to Eumungerie option.

The end result would be a significant amount of highway traffic not needing to come through Dubbo, a more structured process for local traffic getting through the Whylandra Street/Victoria Street intersection, and flood crossings that allow direct access into both North Dubbo and the Central/South areas in the event of that “once in a 20-year flood”.

No doubt a select few in the community will still look to find issues with the work being done by the NSW Government, but hopefully this gives readers an insight into why we are doing the work we are doing.

As I said last week, if Dubbo Regional Council doesn’t like the concept or believes its ideas are better, I would encourage them to investigate the costs associated with building its own bypass or ring road, similar to what Orange City Council did with the Northern Distributor.

With this being my last column prior to Santa’s arrival, I would like to wish all of my constituents in Dubbo a happy and safe Christmas.

See you all in 2019.
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The Nationals
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