TODAY the Upper Hunter Shire Council confirmed they did not build the Merriwa to Willow Tree to specification and the remediation works will cost millions to ratepayers and may take up to three years to complete.
A project manager from Transport New South Wales has been appointed to manage the preparation of a new design, tender, construction and oversee the works.
The Upper Hunter Shire Council has contributed $3.3million of ratepayer money to construct the road and in May Councillors voted to allow the General Manager, Steve McDonald to apply for a $5 million loan to undertake repairs to the road following damage to one section after rain.
Cr Sue Abbott and Cr Lee Watts raised concerns that Council would take a loan for such a significant amount before the geotechnical report on the road had been provided and the cost of the repairs known.
Council did not confirm if the government would acquit the roadworks and provide Council with the pledged $9.6 million grant funding since it has been found the road was not built to specification.
The Merriwa to Willow Tree Road was constructed by the Upper Hunter Shire Council and the Liverpool Plains Shire Council; the section of road built by the Liverpool Plains Shire Council is not in need of any repair work.
Residents of the Merriwa area have previously spoken to scone.com.au and said they believed the road built by the Upper Hunter Shire Council was not built to specification.
“It’s how they’ve done it, the engineers totally done the wrong thing,” said Craig MacPherson.
“What they’ve done on the Willow Tree side is what they should have done on the Merriwa side,” he said.
“Different engineering, because what they’ve done, which has worked well on the other side, it just really comes down to the engineers design of it, it’s not the contractors fault,” Craig MacPherson said.
Read more about what Merriwa residents witnessed when the Upper Hunter Shire Council constructed the road: What Merriwa Locals Say About Willow Tree Road Failure.