THERE’S been a fresh push for the urgent upgrade of one of the main roads from Manilla to Boggabri, with two of the region’s peak local government and development bodies joining forces to secure funding for the project.
Namoi Councils chairman and Tamworth mayor Col Murray said Regional Development Australia Northern Inland (RDANI) would be working with the organisation to develop a business case for the sealing of Rangari Road, an important access to five coal mines in the Boggabri area.
RDANI will carry out a cost benefit analysis of the realignment and bitumen sealing of the road, to be completed by the end of October at which point Namoi Councils will start to make funding submissions.
Cr Murray said it was an important route for inter-regional freight movement, drive-in/drive-out mine employees and mining service contractors travelling from Tamworth, Manilla, Barraba, Gunnedah, Boggabri and Narrabri to the Boggabri, Tarrawonga, Rocglen, Maules Creek and Whitehaven North Narrabri coal mines.
“If upgraded, realigned and bitumen sealed, it is highly probable that MR 357 will become a vital strategic road link within the region, providing access to employment, services and markets in the Gunnedah Coal Basin, and will develop as a highly trafficked inter-regional freight network,” he said.
RDANI chairman Russell Stewart said his organisation would provide the essential evidence base identifying the value of the project.
He said there was even “significant potential” for an upgraded Rangari Rd to tie in with the proposed inland rail route.
The Namoi Group of Councils comprises Gwydir, Gunnedah, Liverpool Plains, Moree Plains and Narrabri shires Council, and Tamworth Regional and Walcha councils.
– Northern Daily Leader