TRIM REFERENCE: 2015/2782
The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) report on assessment of councils’ Fit for the Future submissions was released today.
A webcast was held by the Premier, Minister for Local Government and Chairperson of IPART. The comments by the Premier and Minister included a very clear message that councils are to consider merger opportunities.
The IPART assessment process looked at each council’s fitness for the future, against the recommendation for that council made by the Independent Review Panel.
The panel recommendation for Orange City Council was to “merge with Cabonne and/or Blayney”.
In a media release issued today, Minister Toole urged councils to “consider the IPART findings, and hold discussions with neighbouring councils and the NSW Government, so they can deliver better value for money for ratepayers now and into the future”.
That Orange City Council
1 Confirms it is prepared to consider merger opportunities, and that urgent discussions be held with the NSW State Government, neighbouring councils and other perspective merger partners.
2 Prepares a submission on the IPART report on Fit for Future.
IPART received and assessed 139 proposals from 144 councils between 1 July and 16 October 2015 as part of the NSW Government Fit for Future reform process.
IPART considered the submissions councils made in response to the recommendations from the Independent Local Government Panel (ILGP). In Orange’s case, the ILGP recommended that Council merge with Cabonne and possibly also with Blayney
IPART has determined Council is not fit for future on one basis only – scale and capacity. Council is fit for future on the financial criteria of sustainability, infrastructure and service management and efficiency.
The report identifies that the only reason for the failure in the scale and capacity criteria is that Council did not demonstrate it could realise the same savings identified in the merged council business case by standing alone. The Morrison Low report Council commissioned with Cabonne identified limited savings over 10 years of between $5.38M (NPV at 7%) and $4.34M (NPV at 10%). This modelling assumed grant funding of $5M for the merger costs. This report identifies very little of these savings would be realised by Orange.
The IPART report includes an estimate of $27M of savings over 20 years if Orange and Cabonne were to merge. As the report was only released today, there has been no time to investigate how this figure was determined given it is vastly higher than the estimates in the Morrison Low report. The NSW Government has announced funding of $5M for capital projects in a newly formed council and up to $5M for costs associated with the merger. This could be influencing the savings estimates. The report does identify it has removed some of the costs in the Morrison Low model relating to increasing staff costs.
The ILGP categorises some of its recommendations as preferred. The Orange and Cabonne merger is a preferred recommendation. For Bathurst and Dubbo, their mergers were recommended but they were not preferred mergers. It was recommended that Bathurst merge with Oberon while Dubbo and Wellington were recommended to merge with the possibility of Narromine joining them. IPART has assessed Bathurst and Dubbo as being fit for future by accepting a standalone option as no merger was “preferred” for either LGA highlighting the significance of the “preferred” merger status.
The IPART analysis does identify some councils that only partially satisfy the fit for future scale and capacity criteria and yet they have been deemed to be fit. This also requires further investigation to understand how in some cases partially satisfying the scale and capacity criteria can enable some but not all councils being deemed fit. These councils include Dubbo, Cowra, Eurobodalla, Gilgandra (as a Rural council), Great Lakes, Kiama, Lockhart (as a Rural Council), Shellharbour, Shoalhaven, Sutherland, Tweed and Weddin (as a Rural Council). Some of these councils were not given merger recommendations which may explain the anomaly of failing to meet the criteria but still being determined as fit.
Orange’s footprint of 280km2 does seem out of kilter with the sizeable areas of the other similar sized councils. A merger would offer an opportunity to have a geographic presence comparable to other regional areas.
In the Minister’s press release on this topic published today he comments “Thirty two councils proposed a rate rise to get fit, with 15 councils proposing rises above 30%”. Orange has not included a special rate variation in the analysis to demonstrate financial fitness.
It is anticipated if Council resolves in the affirmative that weekly briefings and a report back to Council on the proposed submission would be provided to Council.
TRIM REFERENCE: 2015/2392
AUTHORS: Wayne Gailey, Manager Works
Chris Devitt, Director Technical Services
Garry Styles, General Manager
The performance of certain sections of Council’s road network over recent months has been less than the expected level of service for these assets, resulting in public concern and a commitment from Council to address these issues in a comprehensive manner. Whilst it can be demonstrated that capital/renewal funding in the roads area over recent years has achieved a significant improvement in the overall quality of the network, these gains have been overshadowed by the performance of a small number of the higher profile roads in the City, particularly the Northern Distributor Road/North Orange Bypass (NDR/NOB) requiring a review of the forward roads program to address these issues.
Council’s current four year Operational/Delivery Plan provides capacity for a re-prioritisation of works within the adopted roads budget to bring forward an accelerated program of works to address these concerns. The previously announced significant increase in Roads to Recovery (R2R) funding over the next two years will provide around $3M of road funding (a rise of around $1.5M) which can be augmented with a further re-allocation of $4.93M of existing Council roads funds over the next two years to provide for a substantial boost in roads expenditure, with the majority of these funds to be spent in the 2015/16 financial year. This program will combine a mix of asset renewal works with targeted capital improvements to ensure that key road assets in the city can deliver at an appropriate level of service consistent with the increased traffic volumes these roads are now carrying and in accordance with the level of service demanded by the community. The centrepiece of the accelerated program will see an upgraded asphalt concrete (AC) surface over the entire length of the NDR/NOB, from Escort Way to the Bathurst Road (Mitchell Highway).
Link To Delivery/OPerational Plan
The recommendation in this report relates to the Delivery/Operational Plan strategy “14.1 Our Environment – Design and construct new infrastructure assets as specified with the Asset Management Plan to agreed levels of service”.
As per advice circulated previously to Councillors, Council has a current road capital upgrade program of $6M this financial year. The proposed program of accelerated works is expected to cost $4.93M over the next two years. It is proposed that these additional works be funded from existing budget allocations in Section 94 Recoupment, Asset Renewal Reserves and already approved Roads Loan Funding. With the additional R2R funding and the accelerated program the total increase to capital upgrade/renewal expenditure on roads will be in the order of $6.5M over 2 years.
Policy and Governance Implications
That, in conjunction with the existing road upgrading programs for the 2015/16 and 2016/17 financial years, Council implements an additional $4.93M expanded roads program over the same two year period funded from the Asset Renewal Reserve, Section 94 Recoupment and a reallocation of $3.0m of an existing loan for works on the Southern Feeder Road to Improvements to the road surface on the Northern Distributor Road.
Consideration has been given to the recommendation’s impact on Council’s service delivery; image and reputation; political; environmental; health and safety; employees; stakeholders and project management; and no further implications or risks have been identified.
The condition of a small number of key roads in the City, in particular the Northern Distributor/North Orange Bypass (NDR/NOB), has been below the expected level of service for roads of this category, and has generated ongoing community discussion, with the issue discussed in detail at a briefing session with Councillors in late July. Following this briefing, a clear direction was given by Council for staff to develop a comprehensive response to these issues, involving a detailed assessment of the problems and, an independent expert review of the proposed solutions and the development of a program of works to deliver these solutions in a timely manner.
A media release was issued in early September identifying a range of roads projects to be undertaken within the existing adopted budget which would begin to address these community concerns. The release (copy attached) also identified that a further expanded program of road projects was being developed, which is now the subject of this report.
Northern Distributor Road /North Orange Bypass - Proposed Solution
The Northern Distributor Road (NDR) /North Orange Bypass (NOB) has been the main focus of concern relating to the deterioration of sections of the road surface, exacerbated by weather conditions over winter and the ever increasing volume of heavy vehicles using the road. Council fully acknowledges that the level of service of the road is below what is expected of a road of such importance. Consequently a key part of the proposed road improvement program is focussed on addressing this issue in a comprehensive manner.
The distress suffered along the NDR/NOB, particularly the more recently constructed sections, is largely in the form of surface defects. The underlying load bearing pavement itself is sound. These surface defects have occurred primarily as a result of a lack of adequate protection of the underlying structural gravel pavement by the bitumen seal, resulting in water getting under the seal and causing it to lift/crack and allowing potholes to form. The likely cause of the bitumen seal behaving this way is multifactorial involving pavement characteristics and rigidity, temperature variables and application. Other parts of the NDR/NOB present a variety of causes for the pavement distress particularly including drainage, both surface and subsurface. The extensive pavement testing work which has been undertaken to date by Council indicates that an appropriate level of treatment of the surface of the road, to improve seal protection and add further load bearing capacity to the road, can be achieved with an Asphaltic Concrete (AC) hotmix structural overlay. This proposed methodology has been verified as the appropriate solution by independent pavement experts through a first stage peer review, enabling Council to establish the broad extent of works required and therefore determine an estimated cost for the works. Further ongoing independent expert assistance is being provided to fine tune details, which will enable the tenders to be called.
The first stage of these works will be undertaken on the section of the NDR between Leeds Parade and Astill Drive, with a contractor engaged to undertake this work in November. The extent of works required for this section has previously been identified, and verified by independent consultants, allowing Council to commence this work in the short term. This demonstrates that Council not only understands the extent of the issues associated with this road but, importantly, has a plan in place to address these concerns and is committed to putting this plan in action as soon as possible.
The fundamental structure of the NDR/NOB has not failed and can be brought back to a satisfactory standard with this proposed intervention. This AC overlay treatment has the added benefit of:
· Adding further structural capacity to the road to account for the increased loads on it from heavy traffic, which are well above those originally allowed for when the road was originally designed
· providing a much longer service life than a standard bitumen seal,
· being a concrete product is much stronger and can better withstand lateral loads from heavy vehicles at critical areas such as intersections/roundabouts
· providing a superior ride quality and reduced traffic noise
Council has already successfully implemented AC overlays at a number of key locations on the NDR/NOB road in recent years, including:
· The Escort Way/NDR intersection,
· Between Ploughmans Creek and the Molong Road,
· Between Telopea Way and Anson Street,
· Either side of the railway bridge, an area of significant pavement distortion which was rehabilitated over 18 months ago, and
· At the eastern end of the bypass where it connects with the Mitchell Highway.
The effectiveness of these new stretches has raised community expectations and concerns around the components of the road as yet untouched.
The proposed works are able to be undertaken in a relatively short time, thus reducing the extent of traffic disruption along the NDR/NOB which currently carries up to 10,000 vehicles per day, of which up to 29% are heavy vehicles. Sections of this work may be undertaken at night to further limit the impacts on through traffic, and importantly this type of work is less dependent on weather conditions than conventional road rehabilitation and bitumen sealing works.
This use of AC overlays is a form of treatment for heavily trafficked roads which is widely utilised by the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS), with recent local examples undertaken at Shadforth on the Mitchell Highway and between Bathurst and Lithgow. In addition, the Mitchell Highway through Orange has a similar surface treatment. In the development of the proposed remediation program for the NDR/NOB Council staff consulted pavement design counterparts at the RMS to discuss this proposed methodology, with the RMS staff confirming that their preferred option for remediation of failing pavements on the Mitchell Highway has been to strengthen with AC.
This work will be delivered in a large part by contractors under the LG Procurement contract for Bitumen, Emulsions and Asphalt Materials and Services.
The NDR/NOB from a Road Corridor Perspective
The road surface issues on the NDR/NOB need to be viewed through the broader perspective of the overall functionality of this road. The key aim of constructing the NDR/NOB was to remove heavy vehicles from the Orange CBD and provide a free flowing bypass around the city to reduce congestion at key intersections between local and through traffic. The efficient movement of freight is particularly affected by 12 sets of traffic lights, signalised rail level crossing and two school zones, causing traffic delays which impact significantly on through travel times for heavy vehicles. Additionally the road was designed to help distribute local traffic within the developing residential and industrial areas in the northern section of the city. In all of these instances the road has been an outstanding success. The graphs below clearly indicate that the anticipated total traffic volumes utilising this road, and importantly the volume of heavy vehicles, have significantly exceeded initial projections. A very telling outcome is the fact that sections of the NDR/NOB are now taking around 28-29% heavy vehicles, whilst at the same time the Mitchell Highway at Bathurst is carrying less than 7-8% heavy vehicles.
The estimation of traffic volumes was undertaken by consultants who prepared the EIS for the project, as it is a specialist field dealing with many and changeable variables such as local and regional population change, local spatial growth, network connectivity, estimating changes in the freight task including modal change and local and regional traffic generating developments.
Graph 1 – Actual 2015 Total Traffic Levels compared to projected, highlighting significantly higher traffic
Graph 2 – Actual 2015 heavy traffic compared to projected, highlighting significant increase and impact
The road has delivered even greater benefits to not only the Orange community through the removal of these through traffic from the CBD, but at a broader regional level through significant freight efficiency improvements on the State Road network. The NDR/NOB achieves a net reduction of 14 sets of traffic lights, plus the removal of the rail level crossing, on the route through Orange. (By way of comparison the proposed tunnel in Sydney under Pennant Hills Road will result in the removal of 22 sets of traffic lights, which is being broadly trumpeted by the State Government as a key transport efficiency outcome). When the NDR/NOB is viewed at a broader State level, it is the only instance along the entire Great Western Highway/Mitchell Highway road corridor between the Blue Mountains and Dubbo where transport efficiency improvements of this scale have been achieved, either in the recent past or with current road projects either underway or proposed on this corridor. And while efficient movement of freight throughout the state is a key responsibility of the State Government, the delivery of the NDR/NOB has been achieved with a relatively low level State Government involvement or support, particularly in recent times. The main interest in the road recently has been focussed around the surface conditions of the road with little acknowledgement at the same time of the overall broader benefits this road delivers at a Regional and State level particularly around freight efficiency and promoting economic activity in regional NSW, a key responsibility of the State Government.
The delivery of the NDR/NOB, from The Escort Way to the Mitchell Highway at Chinamans Bend is 12.3 kilometres with four roundabouts, several waterway crossings and a rail bridge. With the inclusion of the additional cost of the proposed extensive AC surface improvements, this will result in a total capital spend in the order of $43.8M ($2015 exclusive of land acquisition), for 12.3km of alternative highway standard road, around $3.5m per kilometre. The NSW Government is currently undertaking a realignment of the highway at Guanna Hill 21 kilometres north of Orange. The project costs for the 7.2 kilometre works are $56 million. (It is unknown if this includes land purchases). This equates to $7.8 million a kilometre. Translating this level of funding to the NOB/NDR the project costs would be in the order of $96 million. Given this required level of funding it is unlikely that this project would have been undertaken for many years, if at all. Without the intervention of Council to take the initiative and bring on this project in a very cost-effective fashion, the residents of the city would still be having heavy vehicles adding to the congestion in Summer Street, the level of economic activity which has occurred and continues to occur along the NDR/NOB would not have been forthcoming or as successful, and the significant regional and state freight/transport efficiency outcomes resulting from the construction of this road would not have been realised.
The diversion of traffic from the Mitchell Highway through Orange onto the NDR/NOB has also delivered safety and amenity benefits. The heavy and other vehicles that now use the NDR/NOB avoid a busy CBD and its pedestrian movements as well as more than 200 homes and driveways, 50 side streets, two schools and an aged care facility.
Council acknowledges that the original goal to deliver a high standard local road to encourage heavy vehicles out of the CBD has, to a large extent, become a victim of its own success and the road is now effectively acting as a de facto highway, as evidenced by the massive increase in the percentage of heavy vehicles. Whilst Council now recognises that the role of the road is now much more akin to that of an alternate highway, and it proposes to commit additional funding to ensure that the road can function effectively to this higher level, the longer term function and subsequent future funding of the road will need to be monitored and reviewed, particularly if traffic growth continues.
Programed Works On Other Council Roads
The proposed accelerated roads program will build on the success of previous similar programs, ensuring that a wide variety of works are undertaken across the City’s road network targeting key areas. As with previous programs, there will be a strong focus on delivering additional AC surfacing works in key locations where traffic volumes are high and on major arterial roads throughout the city. This approach builds on the successful delivery of similar works on roads such a Coronation Drive, Anson Street south of Gardiner Road and numerous blocks in and around the CBD. External to the City other high traffic roads such as Cadia Road and Burrendong Way have also seen significant improvements in road condition in recent years with an appropriate sprayed seal being applied to reconstructed and strengthened gravel pavements. The proposed ongoing re-construction of Burrendong Way over the next two years, subject to further REPAIR funding, will result in this key Regional Road being fully renewed from the City’s northern boundary to the NDR. This will then allow Council to focus its attention of the staged upgrade of Forest Road under the REAPIR program.
Detailed Works Program
The summary of the overall program of works proposed to be undertaken is provided below.
AC strengthening and resurfacing - Northern Distributor Road
· The Escort Way to Ploughmans Creek bridge
· Molong Road to Burrendong Way
· Burrendong Way roundabout
· Burrendong Way to Hill Street
· Hill Street to just east of William Maker Drive
· Leeds Parade to Astill Drive
· Ophir Road roundabout
· Ophir Road to Icely Road
· Icely Road to the Mitchell Highway
· Burrendong Way - current works to Wiradjuri Place - REPAIR Program
New Road Construction
· Waratah’s Link Road - Diamond Drive to Telopea Way
Works in conjunction with Developments (subject to development proceeding)
· Bunnings - Upgrade of Leeds Parade and construction of new entrance off NDR
· Private Hospital - Installation of traffic signals and upgrade of Forest Road.
Stabilising and AC surfacing
· Roundabout at Peisley Street
· Clinton Street to Sampson Street
· Benview Street to Matthews Avenue
· Kite Street to Summer Street
· Elsham Avenue to Scott Place
· Lords Place to Anson Street
· Anson Street to Sale Street
· Roundabout at Anson Street
· Kooronga Avenue to Ploughmans Lane
Stabilising and bitumen seal
· Hill Street - Benelong Place to Seville Parade
· Ellard Street - Eyles Street to McLachlan Street
· Maxwell Avenue - Brunswick Street to Garema Road
· Sundew Circuit - Anson Street to Sundew Circuit
· Sunny South Crescent - Maguire Avenue to Larry Dwyer Way
· Sampson Street - Dalton Street to Prince Street
· Bletchington Street - Carramar Avenue to Calang Street
· Mathoura Place - Dalton Street to end
· Clinton Street - National Avenue +78 to Lamrock Avenue
· Clinton Street - Rosemary Lane to March Street
· Northstoke Way - Hereford Place +222 to Molong Road
· Icely Road – Bathurst Road to Bridge 1 (W)
· Gardiner Road – Caleula Crescent to Woodward Street
· Cassey Crescent – Burrendong Way (N) to Burrendong Way (S)
· Dalton Street – Madison Way to Madison Way +62
· Dalton Street – Ophir Road +117 to Madison Way
· Huntley Road – Corner Huntley Road and Morris Lane to Blunt Road
· Icely Road – Allenby Road (W) to Nile Street
· Icely Road – Allenby Road (E) to Park Street
· Icely Road – Nathan Street to Allenby Road (E)
· Icely Road – Spring Street to Nathan Street
· North Street – Glenroi Avenue to Glenroi Avenue +336
· North Street – Glenroi Avenue +337 to Churchill Avenue.
Causeway upgrade - Canobolas Road
AC resurfacing - Northern Distributor Road
· Just east of William Maker Drive to asphalt pavement on approach to traffic signals
· Just east of Anson Street to asphalt pavement just east of Clergate Road
· Astill Drive to Ophir Road
*Following the completion of this program, the NDR/NOB will have an asphalt surface over its entire length.
· Burrendong Way - Wiradjuri Place to the Northern Distributor Road – subject to successful REPAIR grant funding
· Ophir Road - Phillip Street to waste facility entrance – subject to successful funding for upgrade being sought under the Federal Blackspot Safety Program.
Stabilising and AC surfacing
· Gardiner Road south to end.
· Byng Street to Dalton Street
· Hill Street to Clinton Street (including removal of dip)
· Summer to Byng Street
Stabilising and bitumen seal program and reseal program for 2016/17 to be finalised and reported to Council in conjunction with 2016/17 Delivery Plan.
The proposed expanded roads program provides for an additional $4.9M of Council sourced funds to be allocated to road improvements in the city over the next two years. This program, in association with the recently expanded R2R funding over the next two years result in expenditure of an extra $6.5M on the City’s road network over a two year period, over and above current budgets. This program of works will be undertaken without any additional impact on the adopted forward budget of Council. The additional $4.93M funding is made up of funds held in Council’s asset renewal reserve, Section 94 funds and a partial re-allocation of $3.0M of loan funds taken out to fund Council’s matching contribution to funding applications for future stages of the Southern Feeder Road. The recent review of Council’s sec 94 contributions plan has identified that Section 94 funds can be utilised in lieu of these loan funds for the Southern Feeder Road.
The centrepiece project, the AC resurfacing of the NDR/NOB will draw on the existing approved roads budget as well as the expanded program for a total project of the order of $5.5M to $6.0M.
In addition, new road works associated with approved developments at the Bunnings site on the NDR/Leeds Parade and the proposed private hospital on Forest Road could result in a further $4.1M of new road construction over the next two years.
GENERAL MANAGER’S COMMENTS
The purpose of this section is to comment more broadly on Council’s approach or risk appetite in bringing on projects in the current environment of some strong criticism and comments from various parties and political criticism for the NDR/NOB. Feedback is also provided on some of the general claims not dealt with elsewhere in the report.
As mentioned in the report the NDR/NOB has been extremely successful as a route taking a very large amount of traffic off other roads, particularly in the CBD, particularly a high number of heavy vehicles. The NDR/NOB is effectively providing an alternate highway function and from a traffic management perspective it is very fortunate that the route is in service. Current traffic loading of the road, particularly heavy vehicles, is well above the design loading for the route.
It is of course acknowledged that the surface of the road has not performed as planned for a variety of reasons as well as the very high traffic volumes, with other reasons outlined elsewhere in this report. At the time of construction it was the expectation of staff that the surface would perform well and was a cost effective solution for the anticipated service of the road. It is noted that Council has in past years had very large roads programs with very good results, making the NDR/NOB surface outcome a frustrating result.
Council has for the last decade taken a very pro-active, ‘can do’ approach to seeking both non-discretionary essential projects such as water supply and discretionary projects such as sporting, cultural and some roads infrastructure. This has meant effectively using leverage funding, grants and private sector funding to bring on projects that otherwise might not occur or might not occur for decades by seeking out opportunities and responding adaptively to emergent circumstances. In taking on this approach, Council has adopted a fit for purpose and value for money approach to projects.
The natural response to strong criticism without the broad perspective of Council’s approach to projects and achievement under this approach is to retreat into a risk averse approach, however the risk of much less activity and ‘gold plating’ of projects can and does arise under a risk-averse approach, or even the failure to take on projects. Much in fact has come from the recent State Government reviews of ‘gold plating’ in the electricity industry to the point of it being cost prohibitive and necessitating strong change. These reviews help to inform this topic.
Taking the NDR/NOB through a risk averse perspective would have led to lengthy delays while still dealing with current traffic levels elsewhere on the network and in fact had OCC waited upon other tiers of government, the project would certainly be delayed or not have occurred at all.
The addition of structural asphalt concrete layers or deeper compacted gravel layers or a more generous geometric alignment at the design stage could not be justified given the proper design analysis that was done. In fact much of the State Highway is compacted gravel, bitumen seal road, with alternatives such as AC used only where it can be justified. However, the state network provides a useful yardstick clearly showing that Orange is not unique with the problems it is experiencing on the NDR/NOB. Similar examples can be observed on the route between Lithgow and Dubbo.
In considering the NDR/NOB it is suggested that the broader perspective be retained and while the surface of the NDR/NOB has not performed as desired, it should be remembered that the route is very successful, that a repair program has been identified and peer reviewed by experts along with consultation with the RMS, and can be funded and that with the application of the funds the total cost of the NDR/NOB is around 45% the rate per km of somewhat similar RMS projects such as Guanna Hill.
It is intended that Council maintain its pro-active approach to projects, acknowledging that such an approach results in much greater outcomes than a more conservative risk-averse approach, but also the odd error can arise and can be dealt with. Council has achieved a very significant array of outcomes through its current approach with many projects including Sir Neville Howse Stadium, Museum, NDR, Aquatic Centre, Airport expansion for example, all receiving a lift.
On the topic of claims, questioning of Council’s ability to build roads, reference is made to the very large number of projects from recent years which have met expected results, in the vast majority of cases. The NOB/NDR is a notable exception and is dealt with in this report.
On the comments regarding people cannot see where the money has gone, this is answered earlier in this section and reiterated elsewhere in this report through the comparison of the cost of the NDR/NOB, including the repairs mooted in this report to the cost of similar projects.
In relation to claims regarding the NDR/NOB, there is no substance to baseless, unsubstantiated claims of inappropriate briefing of contractors with the influence of a cheap project to then hand the NDR/NOB onto the RMS. The instructions to the contractor was the contract which is publicly available should anyone have a concern. The contract and project were in line with RMS standards.
Further on claims of trying to hand over the NDR/NOB to the RMS; this has never been resolved by Orange City Council, however was raised in a briefing of Councillors recently. Briefing sessions are a forum where incomplete thoughts and ideas are appropriately raised and discussed for Council to distil its final position.
Additionally going back a number of years, the idea of the DMR come RTA actually building the road has been canvassed with some reasonable discussion and consideration it is understood. Given this along with the traffic volume and composition, the idea of State Government involvement or take-up has been around for a very long time and it is both no secret and reasonable for it to be discussed as it has been in a number of forums, in fact often raised by ratepayers at public stakeholder meetings for various sections of the road.
Notwithstanding the above, it is held that the NOB/Mitchell Highway intersection will need an upgrade in the medium term with the growth in traffic and it will be in the interests of both the RMS and Orange City Council to resolve this along with funding and/or responsibility arrangements.
In relation to the long-term responsibility for the NDR/NOB, particularly should traffic numbers, especially heavy vehicles, continue to grow, funding arrangements and responsibility (whether shared or singular) will need to be resolved. However, it is held that in the first instance the surface be repaired and funded by Council as outlined in this report with funding and responsibility for the road to be canvassed in the medium term, properly based on traffic and function.
1 Media Release - Council unveils list of road upgrade projects, D15/34000⇩
5.9 Proposed Accelerated Roads Program
Attachment 1 Media Release - Council unveils list of road upgrade projects
From General Manager, Orange City Council
Date 9 September 2015
Council unveils list of road-upgrade projects
Orange City Council has unveiled a list of major road projects to be tackled during the coming months.
Orange City Council’s Infrastructure Committee chair Cr Glenn Taylor said the council has heard the strong response of the Orange community to the state of local roads.
“There’s a recognition that we had to do more about the state of local roads in the council budget this year. The planned total spend on roads has risen to $6 million during this financial year,” Cr Glenn Taylor said.
“Because of our climate, the local community understands that there’s a limited window of clear weather when there’s time to tackle the major projects. This list of projects has been closely prepared and I’m pleased to be letting the community know, some of the key projects on the list.”
“It’s always a question of balancing the expectation of residents against the competing budget priorities and the available funds,” Cr Glenn Taylor said.
“We prefer to put the more expensive hot-mix asphalt on the city’s high-traffic roads, and have used the sprayed seals on street with less traffic. It’s now becoming clear that the community now wants the council to opt for the hot-mix option more to reduce the likelihood of potholes.”
“The sections of the bypass where hot-mix has been used, such as near the rail bridge and near the North Orange Shops traffic lights, are the sections of the bypass that are holding up well.”
The list of work to be completed (weather permitting) during the current financial year includes hot-mix asphalt re-surfacing on these roads:
· Northern Bypass – from Burrendong Way intersection east for half a kilometre
· Northern Bypass – Leeds Parade to Astil Drive
· Re-surfacing Byng street / Peisley Street Roundabout
· Byng Street - Lords Place to Sale Street
· Hill Street – Benview to Matthews Avenue
· Coronation Drive – Pirinari to Ploughmans Lane
Burrendong Way - Further sprayed seal upgrade of the next half a kilometre continuing south from last year’s work
Further road projects in the current budget but which are reliant on the progress of adjacent private development include;
· Forest Road from the main hospital entrance to the traffic signals at the Bloomfield Entrance
· Leeds Parade from the Northern Bypass to the first culvert
Mayor John Davis said Orange City Council is also looking at the options for an expanded works program. These projects are still being developed for discussion with Council and an announcement will be made at a later date.
“It’s clear that we need to do even more to improve the quality of local roads,” Cr John Davis said. “The success of the bypass in getting a large amount of traffic out of Summer Street has been proven and welcomed by the community. We now need to start the work of giving the bypass the hot-mix asphalt road surface that it needs to match that level of traffic.”
Roads being considered for this further program include the upgrading of :
· William Street
· Ophir Road
· Further sections of the northern bypass
Orange City Council
Phone 02 6393 8217
Mobile 0400 052 452
Fax 02 6393 8199