Joint Media Statement
A 1.5-kilometre stretch of Appleby Lane has been upgraded from a gravel surface to a sealed one as work continues on the $4.3 million project which will improve heavy vehicle access to Tamworth from the north.
Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said in total, a six-kilometre unsealed section of Appleby Lane would be widened and sealed through a jointlyfunded initiative.
“Good progress has already been made since work started in February, and later this week construction is expected to be completed on two large box culverts,” Mr Chester said.
Deputy Prime Minister and Federal Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce, said the upgrade was a good example of the Australian Government’s $50 billion investment in infrastructure reaching through to grassroots projects.
“With 60,000 people currently in the Tamworth precinct we’ve got to start planning for future growth of 100-150,000 people by starting with ringroads like Appleby Lane now,” Mr Joyce said.
“Appleby Lane could eventually link up with the Moonbi Gap Road and create capacity to take traffic from Moonbi across to Gunnedah. This will be part and parcel of also delivering a future bypass of Tamworth from Nemingha to Whitehouse Lane.
“This road upgrade is real vision and delivery for the city of Tamworth and I thank the NSW Government and Tamworth Regional Council for chipping in their part of the funding to deliver the project.”
Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson said investment in key roads such as Appleby Lane ensured infrastructure was being built for the future that will see local communities grow.
“These upgrades better connect local and regional roads to state highways and key freight hubs like grain silos, saleyards, rail heads, supermarket distribution centres and depots to get products from paddock to port more efficiently,” Mr Anderson said.
“This is all about reducing transport costs to ultimately create cheaper products at market for ratepayers, it also means less wear and tear on council owned roads.”
Tamworth Regional Council Mayor Col Murray said a key stage of the project would start next week.
“Construction will move closer towards the Gunnedah Road end of the lane where the crests of two hills will be reduced to improve the line of sight for motorists,” Cr Murray said.
“A huge volume of soil and rocky material will be removed - about two metres will come off the height of the biggest hill and about a metre off the smaller one.
“This two-kilometre section of the lane will be closed to through traffic for about four weeks but Appleby Lane residents will continue to have car access to their properties.”
Funding for the project includes $1.566 million from the Australian Government under Round 5 of the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Programme, $1.566 million from the New South Wales Government through the Restart NSW Fixing Country Roads Program, and $1.193m from Tamworth Regional Council.