TODAY the Merriwa Willow Tree Road, also known as Coulsons Creek Road, received $2 million in Federal grant funding for rehabilitation works.
Funding is courtesy of round seven of the government’s Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program, with a further $2 million going towards the realignment and widening of the Hunter Road from Naracoote to Glenmore Bridge.
Upper Hunter Shire Mayor Maurice Collison thanked the government for the grant and said Council will continue to apply for more funding for both the Hunter and Merriwa Willow Tree Roads.
“It’s going to take a lot more than that of course but at least it’s a start, so hopefully we’ll get some more money and then move onto the Hunter Road…which is probably one of the busiest unsealed roads in the shire,” Cr Collison said.
“We’ve had these applications in for a while and it’s really good to get it…it’s really good for the rural people,” he said.
Cr Collison said the full design for Merriwa Willow Tree Road has gone out and once it is returned a timeline will be established, and rehabilitation works will go to tender.
“Originally the timeline for completion was three years, one the design comes back we’ll have a better idea,” Cr Collison said.
“We’ll certainly go out for community consultation once we get everything in line,” he said.
Cr Collison said it is likely the five-tonne limit will remain in place for the duration of the works however, it depends on the advice provided by community consultation.
“Depending on the community wants, we could close the road and fix it and get into it ASAP,” Cr Collison said.
Member for New England Barnaby Joyce said he doesn’t think $2 million will be enough for the Merriwa to Willow Tree Road, but it is a start towards making the road safe for heavy vehicles.
“We’re going to need a lot more,” Mr Joyce said.
“Of course it was disappointing after fighting for so long and so hard, to get a second range crossing for the New England…to see the issues that happened with bad weather and that road falling away,” he said.
“But I’ve started the process, I’ve got $2 million for that road to start off with,” he said.
“I know there’s more that needs to come, but I’m hard at work trying to do that,” said My Joyce.
Mr Joyce said the $290 million Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program will allow communities to fast-track their high-priority infrastructure projects.
“I am pleased to see Hunter Road and Coulsons Creek Road will receive a total of $4 million for construction works,” Mr Joyce said.
“This is vitally important in making sure we can move produce around such as cattle and machinery, things to keep this economy going,” he said.
“This is real delivery for people in the Upper Hunter, providing safer roads, more employment and added economic stimulus for the region,” he said.
“It shows serious money going into not only the edge of the New England electorate, but the edges of the Upper Hunter Shire,” said Mr Joyce.
- Merriwa – Willow Tree Road: “A Disaster” – June 25, 2020
- Botched Roadwork Will Cost Ratepayers Millions – June 23, 2020
- What Merriwa Locals Say About Willow Road Failure – June 12, 2020
- Willow Tree Road: Uninsured and Another Loan – June 9, 2020