The Canowindra Business Chamber put one of the town’s most nagging issues on the agenda this week — the state of our regional country roads and local streets and the pressing need for an improved route around the town for huge B-double trucks.
The discussion at Tuesday’s meeting was prompted by the NSW government’s call for “expressions of interest” from local councils for grants from its $35.7 million Fixing Country Roads program – a scheme aimed, according to deputy premier Andrew Stoner, at addressing a predicted doubling of road freight haulage over the next 20 years.
Another worrying trigger for local government and chamber discussion is reports that virtual “road trains” – B-triple trucks — will soon be thundering over the Blue Mountains and into the Central West.
Roads and Freight Minister Duncan Gray says Fixing Country Roads is all about improving roads and also freight flow by “better connecting freight facilities such as rail sidings, saleyards, silos, abattoirs, fuel depots and distribution centres to local road networks.”
Not surprisingly Canowindra Business Chamber president Eddy Wilkinson cites both targets, freight movement and road deterioration, as vital issues for the chamber and the community.
“Our priority is to minimise the impact of trucks travelling through Canowindra,” he says, pointing to the damage caused to the road surfaces between the Blatchford-Gaskill streets intersection and the turning at the Age of Fishes Museum into Ferguson street as a constant problem.
“It’s just not good to have these big vehicles in the downtown area. But the problem is that there’s just not enough money to create a complete road freight by-pass around the town.”
As for our country roads, Eddy rates the Belubula Way route from Canowindra to Mandurama, along with the notoriously bad Canowindra-Eugowra road as our highest priorities for repairs and upgrading.
But what about you, our readers? We invite you to join this important discussion by emailing the Phoenix on email@example.com with your complaints and suggestions.
By Derek Maitland