The Mullaley community is ecstatic to hear the Grain Valley Road is one step closer to being completely sealed.
For more than 10 years, the small farming community has been advocating for the remaining 17.4 kilometres of gravel road to be sealed, and on Friday the federal government announced up to $3.85 million in funding under the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program.
Gunnedah Shire Council has committed $500,000 to the estimated $8.2 million total project cost and has submitted an application for $3.85 million in funding under the Fixing Country Roads program.
Mayor Jamie Chaffey said the council was hoping to receive a “positive” response next month.
The Namoi Valley Independent spoke to Mullaley residents after the federal funding announcement, and “excited” was the buzzword of the day.
Mullaley Public School principal Ben Carter and P&C members Sheryl Martin and Lizzy Bell said they were “thrilled” because the road was a major safety concern for parents who had children travelling the road twice a day on the school bus.
“This is a fantastic development for both the school community and the farming community,” Ms Martin said.
“To have a result like this is fantastic and we’re absolutely thrilled.
“There are farmers that will now feed through there and if the Inland Rail goes ahead, it will become a major thoroughfare for farmers to get their produce to port. It opens up a whole new area of trade.”
Ms Bell said it was a “relief” to know something would be done and “we’re glad our persistence has paid off”.
This is a fantastic development for both the school community and the farming community.Sheryl Martin, Mullaley Public School P&C
Mullaley Bus Service Russell owner Russell Keam has been driving the school bus route for 10 years and has been writing letters to the state, federal and local governments about the state of the road for about five years.
“I’ve been awaiting some news and it is very exciting,” he said.
“I’m really happy… We’ll finally have a road to drive on.”
The residents said they would like to thank Parkes MP Mark Coulton for his “persistence” and “commitment” to seeing the road fixed.
Cr Chaffey echoed their words and said he was “stoked” that the federal government had committed funds to the project.
“I’m really proud to be able to deliver this for a very significant part of the Gunnedah Shire Council area and the people of Mullaley,” he said.
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