Last week I announced a record six NRL games will be played in regional NSW in 2021 - including two in the Dubbo Electorate. Mudgee will host the Manly Sea Eagles and the Gold Coast Titans in round 6, before Dubbo hosts the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Penrith Panthers in round 11.
I read with great interest the 'Eye On Dubbo' column in the Daily Liberal on November 18 and want to clear up some misconceptions about the River Street Bridge project.
Firstly, the State Government isn't spending $210 million on the bridge. The Federal Government has seen the value in this project and joined us on an 80/20 funding model. The state investment is $44 million with the Feds tipping in $176 million.
The mayor says Dubbo needs a ring road now. But council's own 2020 Dubbo Transportation Strategy (now on public display) says: "during the course of this work it has become apparent that further State investment on a bypass is unlikely to be justified even in the long term (35 years plus)".
The former Stapleton Report to 2045 commissioned by Dubbo council said: "Does Dubbo urgently need a ring road to take highway traffic around the city? The answer to this question is also NO."
River Street Bridge and a bypass are separate projects and, in conjunction with the planned South Bridge and the installation of traffic lights at the Victoria and Whylandra Street intersection, are part of a wide range of work that will enhance traffic flow in our city.
Opponents say there was no community consultation but six options were put together in conjunction with the then Dubbo City Council.
Tamworth Street was one of those options, triggering an uproar from residents and some council candidates. Ultimately River Street was determined to be the best option to allow local traffic to access to the city in a time of flood.
There was more consultation last year. In contrast, South Bridge is now open for community consultation but for some reason Dubbo Regional Council has only put forward two of the four routes identified in their business case.
That's hardly consultation. Ironically, the other options align to Tamworth Street, although there's no suggestion Tamworth Street would see more congestion.
The catalyst for the River Street Bridge was the 2010 flood, when it took over an hour to cross the L.H Ford Bridge.
A bypass at Troy wouldn't solve this issue, as it directs traffic further out of town and puts a flood between that bridge and the city - a nightmarish scenario.
River Street Bridge will provide outcomes for local people, taking trucks away from dangerous intersections on Erskine Street and providing another route into the growing 'Health and Wellbeing precinct' in times of flood.
There is no silver bullet to Dubbo's traffic situation, as has been highlighted in council's own reports over many years. We need a range of solutions and River Street Bridge is one of them.
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