Gunnedah Shire mayor Jamie Chaffey believes the council has a strong chance of acquiring grant funds for the heavily-campaigned Grain Valley Road.
Cr Chaffey said Gunnedah Shire Council has put in two applications for funding to seal the remaining 17.4 kilometres of gravel road, which will cost $8.2 million.
In March, the council applied for funding under the Heavy Vehicle and Productivity Program and the newest round of the Fixing Country Roads program. The council applied for funding under the Fixing Country Roads program last year but was unsuccessful with that application.
“It’s a significant amount of money. It’s going to take the support of all levels of government to see that sealed, but we’re committed,” Cr Chaffey said.
“We’ve put in some very good applications. I think our opportunity for success should be very strong.”
“We are hopeful with the current approach we have with all levels of government - local, state and federal - and we’re working with our local members to all approach the issue of the 17.4 km of road that needs to be sealed,” Cr Chaffey said.
“We have been quite seriously looking at Grain Valley Way as one of our major projects by way of infrastructure.
“It’s our number one priority… We won’t give up.”
Sealing the road couldn’t come sooner for Mullaley’s Mardi Fordham who has to use the road to visit her daughter and her newborn in Boggabri.
“She was unwell for a while beforehand so I’ve been travelling that road virtually every other day but I’ve got a brand new car and it was just trashed,” she said.
“It’s really dangerous that road; you’ve got to do about 60-70 kilometres, and it’s really busy.
“It’s gotten worse and it’s gotten a lot busier [over the years].”
Mrs Fordham said her daughter doesn’t come to visit as often as she’d like because of the dangerous condition of the road.
“I’d love to see it sealed all the way to Boggabri,” Mrs Fordham said.
Cr Chaffey said sealing the road was a priority because of safety concerns and usage.
“I think Grain Valley Way is a really important part of our economy,” he said.
“There is a lot of through traffic that goes through our shire.
“At the moment, it is so dry and there has been an extensive dry period that has seen added pressure on the council with the amount of works we’ve undertaken to try and maintain some reasonable level of quality of that road.”
Cr Chaffey said with the finalisation of the grain harvest and regular diversions from the Newell Highway recently due to fires and traffic accidents, the pressure has increased. Cotton harvest is also under way, with the road a major route to access the Boggabri cotton gin.
“When you have that amount of heavy vehicles on the road and you have light vehicle interacting with those vehicles, it is a risk,” Cr Chaffey said.