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New lights lead the way for Thurgoona's growth

Friday 14 May 2021
A major intersection upgrade that forms a crucial part of Albury’s growth strategy will soon ‘go live’, with new traffic lights to ease the daily congestion that can make the morning and afternoon commute a headache for local people.

The redevelopment of the Elizabeth Mitchell Drive / Thurgoona Drive intersection has been completed and is now awaiting formal approval by Transport for NSW. Once that approval is granted, the new traffic lights will be switched on and a new era will begin for the thousands of motorists who pass through the intersection every day.

The project has transformed the old two-lane arterial roundabout into a four-lane intersection with traffic lights, right-turn lanes and left-turn slip lanes onto Elizabeth Mitchell Drive from Thurgoona Drive.

Although the implementation of traffic signals caused some debate within the community, transport engineers say the lights will make a crucial difference for motorists, especially at those peak times in the mornings and afternoons during the busy work and school runs.

The traffic lights will help to ease the congestion that has sometimes plagued motorists in the past by efficiently funnelling traffic through all points of the crossing and providing easier access to the Hume Freeway.

The new intersection will also be safer, with crossings for pedestrians and new walking and cycling paths to encourage people to travel by foot or bike.

This intersection, however, is just one piece of the puzzle for our wider strategy to provide the infrastructure and services that Thurgoona-Wirlinga will need as it continues to grow towards an estimated population of 50,000 within less than 50 years.

The bigger picture includes the ongoing work to develop the Thurgoona Link Road – a project that will greatly improve the connection between the growth area and the rest of our city.

By providing an east-west connection and transferring north-bound traffic on to the freeway, the future link road will ease congestion on Thurgoona’s streets, helping to make the area more attractive to the thousands of new residents who will call the area home over coming decades.

To be developed in five stages over five years from 2022, the link road will be widened to two lanes in 15 to 20 years’ time.

We’re looking forward to consulting our community on the project as the planning work progresses.

Of course, planning for rapid population growth requires more than just ensuring the appropriate transport networks are in place, which is why we’re forging ahead on the other critical infrastructure services that will be needed for new homes and businesses.

In the upcoming financial year, we’ll build a new sewer gravity main from Kerr Road to Brooklyn Fields as part of works to provide services to those new customers, while a huge manifold installed in Kerr Road earlier this year will become a major junction point to provide drinking water to Thurgoona and Wirlinga, and also connect to new reservoirs in the future.

A growing community also needs a range of social and recreational facilities. With that in mind, we’ve allocated funds in the 2021/2022 budget to build a new play space for children at Ernest Grant Park, a new off-leash area for pet dogs and their owners at a separate location , and a major redevelopment of the Thurgoona Oval to include new change rooms, amenities and covered spectator areas, among other improvements.

The long-term plans for the growth area have been guided by extensive consultation with the community and it’s great to see that feedback now paying dividends in the form of new infrastructure taking shape.

Thank you to everyone who’s helped to guide us on this journey. We’re looking forward to taking the next steps, starting with the intersection commissioning, as we continue to work together to build the future for our growing city.