Dubbo motorists are set to face significant disruptions in the coming years, as state and local governments undertake “city-changing” infrastructure projects across the city.
The $140 million third bridge is the jewel in the crown of five major projects totalling almost $200 million, with work set to continue well into next decade.
The work includes: upgrade (including traffic lights) to the Newell Highway intersection with Mitchell Highway ($20 million); upgrade (including traffic lights) to the Mitchell Highway (Cobra Street) intersection with Fitzroy Street ($14 million); pavement upgrade on the Newell Highway, West Dubbo ($11 million), and; LH Ford Bridge improvements ($10 million).
Dubbo MP Troy Grant said the works – while disruptive – were necessary to support Dubbo’s growth.
“Dubbo is always going to grow and the future traffic needs for this region is going to continue to grow,” Mr Grant said. “We’ve seen the freight task on the Newell Highway double over the last decade. We know that with population growth, particularly in West Dubbo … that has already impacted on time to cross the bridge and congestion.
“All of these projects are designed to deal with, not only the here and now, but also set us up for future investments.”
The third bridge in particular could unlock future investment, Mr Grant said, with potential for a light industry precinct, or even a Wiradjuri visitor centre, along the new road corridor in Dubbo’s north-west.
But that is still a long way off, with construction not set to begin until 2022.
The LH Ford Bridge maintenance project will be the first cab off the rank, with tenders for the work set to be advertised next month. Two piers will be constructed in the Macquarie River to support the drop in span, with construction work to begin in September this year.
Roads and Maritime Service Western Regional Director Alistair Lunn said the impact on motorists would be minimal. The vast majority of work would be undertaken under the bridge, he said, with any closures to be limited to nights and weekends.
The Newell Highway pavement work is set to begin in August, while construction of the two signalised intersections on the Mitchell Highway is set to begin in 2019.
Dubbo Regional Mayor Ben Shields said the upgrade at the Fitzroy Street roundabout was particularly welcome.
“This intersection is very dangerous and it’s been identified by council for a number of years as one of our crash hot spots,” Councillor Shields said.
“Cobra Street is getting busier and busier, quite literally by the day, so it needs significant attention.”