Deputy Premier John Barilaro says funding for the River Street Bridge will not be taken away from Dubbo despite local MP Dugald Saunders' claims it could be due to vocal opposition to the project.
Member for Dubbo electorate Dugald Saunders has previously claimed constant media reports of opposition to the River Street bridge could cause Dubbo to lose funding for the project.
"There are many other areas of the state in need of vital infrastructure. If we can't get a common-sense approach to this issue soon, this funding may go elsewhere, and the people of Dubbo will miss out," Mr Saunders has said.
But when asked by the Daily Liberal if losing the funding was a possibility Mr Barilaro gave an iron-clad promise it was staying in Dubbo, and the "vocal minority" would not thwart the bridge project.
"The River Street project has been scoped, costed and promised... It's a $150 million project that is not just transferable to something that has not ever been looked at, scoped or planned in any way," he said.
"The community has been fully consulted, and despite the vocal minority trying to put a spanner in the works, most people are happy with the project, including many business and community leaders who have told Dugald Saunders and me they have had a gut full of the negativity around this project and just want to see it built."
Stop the River Street Bridge group spokesperson Katrina McLachlain says those opposed to the bridge should not give up, despite the Deputy Premier's claims the bridge project is a fait accompli.
"The River Street bridge will not reduce Dubbo's traffic congestion," she said.
"It will not flood-proof the Newell Highway."
Mr Barilaro pointed to further money given to the Dubbo Regional Council to investigate a South bridge project and conceded the River Street Bridge was only a "piece in the solution" for Dubbo's traffic woes.
"There has also been $100,000 provided to the council to come up with an initial plan for a South bridge, which is the next most important piece in the solution for Dubbo," he said.
"A by-pass of Dubbo may happen in the future, but even the council has never had it in its traffic planning, so there is plenty of work to do before that would become a reality."
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