New road proposal open for community consultation

29 March 2014

A proposed East-West connector road in the Thurgoona Wirlinga Precinct is now open for community consultation. 

Council has received a report from Opus Consultants which identified the need for a new road in the developing area and recommends that Council set aside the land for its construction.

Thurgoona-Wirlinga is one of Albury’s growth corridors and is expected to be home to an additional 50,000 residents over the next five decades, as outlined in the Thurgoona Wirlinga Precinct Structure Plan.

The report found that the predicted population growth and urban development in the area would eventually create capacity issues on Thurgoona Drive and Riverina Highway in peak times, and that a new road connecting Kerr Road and Corrys Road would alleviate future traffic congestion.

The report also recommends the upgrade of Thurgoona Drive and parts of the Riverina Highway to add an additional lane in each direction.

Planning and Development Committee Chair Cr Daryl Betteridge said it was important that local residents had their say before any final decision was made on the proposed road. If the Committee’s recommendation is endorsed by full Council at its meeting on 24 March, the public exhibition period will commence on Saturday 29 March and allow interested residents, community groups and stakeholders 28 days to have a say on the proposed new road.

“With the predicted population growth in Thurgoona Wirlinga there is going to be a significant impact on traffic movement in the area,” he said. “We need to make sure we’re planning for the future of Thurgoona Wirlinga and the people who will live there and we want our community to be part of the process.”

“The decisions we make now will have a huge impact on the future of traffic management in that area. We want to know the community’s views so we can incorporate them into the decision making process.”

“We’ve been working closely with private landholders in area, the Thurgoona Progress Association, the Office of Environment and Heritage, Crown Lands and EPA to develop these plans and we’re keen to continue the consultation process.”

“We want to give some certainty to developers and residents about the future plans regarding the proposed new road and it’s possible alignment.”

The potential need for a new road was first identified in the Thurgoona Wirlinga Precinct Structure Plan which was adopted by Council in 2012. The preferred route connects Kerr Road with Corrys Road, intersecting at Table Top Road.

If the road were to proceed as proposed Council would need to acquire substantial areas of private and Crown Land. Initial modelling put the cost of the proposed road at between $15.5M - $27M. The significant costs of the works reinforces the need to get the planning stages right. This will help with future planning to finance the proposed works.

The proposed route also runs through the Thurgoona Threatened Species Corridor. Assessment of the route options included an Environmental Risk Assessment and specific mitigation measures for flora and fauna would be prepared as part of detailed designs. This could include vegetation overpasses and wildlife crossings.

Cr Betteridge emphasised that this is still a proposal only and no decision had yet been made on the future road.

“It’s still very early days and Council is set to make a decision about whether this will go ahead. The first step is to consult with residents and inform them of the proposals so we can get their feedback before it goes any further. Any decision needs to be fully informed on all the issues and facts. This project relates to the long term future of our city for both existing and new residents.”

View the East-West Connector Road proposal online now