DUBBO City Council is geared up to tackle a key intersection where bad design has forced heavy vehicles to take the long and costly way round.
It was charged with the task of untangling rail and road at Troy Junction, north of Dubbo, as it received a $3 million commitment from the NSW government.
The council expects to start construction at the site, where it will realign the rail crossing and rail line further away from the Newell Highway, this year ahead of a 2014 deadline.
The desired outcome is to make the intersection safe for road trains and B-doubles by enabling three road trains to queue on Boothenba Road at the rail crossing without encroaching on the highway.
Once completed, Boothenba Road could form a northern bypass of the city for traffic on the Newell, Golden and Mitchell highways.
It has been no simple matter to get to the construction phase of the project, which initially received $700,000, with the remainder of the $3 million set down in the next two budgets.
Council civil infrastructure and solid waste manager Steve Clayton reported that since the first allocation they had worked on designs, deciding to move the level crossing 150 metres to the east and construct about 1 kilometre of new rail line among other features.
They also had to gain approval from the rail authority - which changed from the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) to John Holland.
In April the council resolved to purchase land for the realignment.
"Yes there have been some complex issues in the design side, for example the (nearby) saleyards washdown treatment works, that we've had to work through," Mr Clayton said.
The first sign of the upgrade will be the reconstruction of the intersection to the western side of the highway so road trains can approach and stop on a level platform, he said.
The intersection had been the subject of lobby efforts before the Coalition made an election commitment to fund the project.
"At the moment the crossing is too close to the intersection, road trains and B-doubles have to go the long way via Purvis Lane and Yarrandale Road, which adds to operational costs and contributes to wear and tear on council roads," Mr Clayton said.
Dubbo MP Troy Grant took colleagues to the intersection while he campaigned before the 2011 election and recently welcomed the progress.
"It's long been recognised that the stretch of the Newell Highway near Boothenba Road is a major artery for freight which has been frustrated by the lack of appropriate access for road trains and B-double vehicles," he said.
"The NSW Liberals/Nationals are serious about improving road freight access corridors in regional areas and this upgrade . . . is a clear demonstration of our commitment to that end."