Further to last week’s Echo newspaper story Main Arm Road repairs grant unsuccessful, Council’s General Manager, Mark Arnold, told The Echo that feedback was received from the NSW government regarding its application for funding for projects in the Build Back Better program.
According to the March 23 Council agenda, Mullumbimby Road was awarded funding of $2,770,609, Wilsons Creek road $3,413,385, while Main Arm Road was rejected for funding of $8,077,322.
As reported last week, Regional Transport and Roads Minister Sam Farraway (Nationals) told The Echo a panel recommends projects ‘that best met the package criteria and eligibility’ to himself, as Minister for Regional Transport and Roads.
Arnold told The Echo, ‘Feedback was that the application was of high calibre, and funds were distributed across the local government areas on equity, relative to flood impacts.
‘Unfortunately, the funding pool could not accommodate the total value of the three applications made by Council.
‘The Wilsons Creek Road and Mullumbimby Road projects were rated as “vital” projects to support evacuation routes.
‘Council is continuing to look for additional betterment funding for Main Arm’.
Regarding other Main Arm Road projects, funding constraints have halted a proposal to raise Main Arm Road, upstream of Sherry’s bridge. In the upcoming March 23 agenda, Director Infrastructure Services, Phillip Holloway, replied to a question by Cr Duncan Dey on the matter and said, ‘Sherry’s Bridge is within the flood model, and part of any flood impact assessment for the proposed works. Should a proposed design increase flood velocity at the bridge, an investigation into scour protection improvements would be completed. This project is currently on hold owing to funding constraints.
Meanwhile, the Main Arm causeway (number 2), located near the intersection of Main Arm Road and Palmwoods Road, will be replaced. Holloway said in a press release that the Stoney Creek causeway will be higher, and upgraded to take two lanes of traffic.
‘The $805,538 project also includes the reconstruction of road approaches and improvements to drainage’, he said.
‘This project has been on our radar for some time, and I know local residents will be pleased to see it replaced.’
‘Like we have done at the other causeways we have replaced, this one will be fish-friendly, allowing fish to move freely from one side of the causeway to the other’.
He says the project is jointly funded by the Australian Government’s Bridges Renewal Program, which is contributing $402,679, and Council. Work will start in April and take approximately three months, he says.
More information can be found at the causeway replacement section on Council’s website.
Main Arm residents’ petition
A 102 signature petition will be tabled at this Thursday’s meeting, calling upon Council to ‘commence emergency repair work on Main Arm Road, Upper Main Arm, between the Palmwoods intersection and Mt Jerusalem National Park’.
According to the Council agenda, the petition reads in part, ‘We desperately need a road that resembles a road; one that is safe for locals and visitors to alike; and one that enables our community to recover’.
In reply, Holloway said in part, ‘Council has a finite budget to undertake repair works’.
‘Operational works are generally allocated on a risk basis, and these funds must stretch over the financial year, to ensure that the highest risks can be addressed’.
‘Council staff will review the road condition and associated risk rating for sections of Main Arm Road, between Mt Jerusalem National Park and the Palmwood intersection and appropriately prioritise Council’s grading and jet patcher crews based on available funding.
‘The period during which Council can claim reimbursement for emergency works, associated with the 2022 Natural Disaster event, closed on January 31, 2023.
‘Council has been liaising with TfNSW, and requested additional funds to undertake further interim works to improve driveability and road safety on our damaged road network on an as-needs-basis until the permanent repair solution can be delivered.
‘TfNSW are yet to advise Council on the outcome of that request’.