Easier access to the Crawfords Freightlines intermodal rail facility could be the ticket in driving the Liverpool Plains economy forward.
A Werris Creek Intermodal Road Access Project would improve "efficiency and safety for heavy vehicles heading to-and-from the new ... rail facility", according to Liverpool Plains Shire Council (LPSC) mayor Andrew Hope.
The project would involve major upgrades to South Street, which connects with the New England Highway.
The council, in partnership with Regional Development Australia Northern Inland (RDANI), is calling on the state government to consider granting close to $10 million in funding to the project.
Both organisations are highly optimistic that the value in the investment is clear.
"This is a road project that will drive job growth in an economy that is struggling with the worst drought ever. The Crawfords Freightlines intermodal rail facility created 25 new jobs and their workforce at Werris Creek could ultimately grow to 80, yet council aims to see that be the catalyst for more industrial investment and jobs," Cr Hope said.
"Optimising road infrastructure for the Crawfords Freightlines intermodal rail facility and other local industries is common sense for the economy, locally and on a state level."
The tracks have been laid for economic growth and we look forward to seeing the NSW state government get on board.LPSC mayor Andrew Hope
RDANI senior research economist David Thompson said significantly reduced travel times and improved were safety plain to see.
"Average travel savings that would result from the road project for all trucks would be 42kms or 31 minutes of drive-time in a round-trip. The largest time saving projection is for the 4,200 truck movements per year for refrigerated meat coming from Tamworth, involving an average saving of 103km or 77 minutes," Mr Thompson said.
"Research into existing access to the intermodal identified room for travel time and safety improvements and the proposed project would deliver on risk reductions."
Cr Hope said that economic benefits of increasing efficiencies for freight trucks accessing the Werris Creek intermodal would extend across many industries and a large area.
"This project is really about improving public road transport infrastructure to value add to an economically stimulating freight hub, stemming from private sector investment," he said.
Liverpool Plains Shire Council is developing a 100-acre industrial precinct adjacent to the Crawfords Freightlines intermodal rail facility.
"The Werris Creek Intermodal Road Access Project will support our new industrial precinct, as well as the important intermodal rail freight facility. Business investment in the industrial precinct will be an attractive prospect because of the intermodal activities, so this road project will help to pave the way for more jobs in our economy," said Cr Hope.
"The tracks have been laid for economic growth and we look forward to seeing the NSW state government get on board."
Liverpool Plains Shire Council has proposed that construction begin in January 2021 and be completed by June 2022. The project could pave the way for a heavy vehicle bypass of Werris Creek in the future.
The $8 million freight facility came to fruition about six months after talks started between Crawfords and LPSC started.