$3.5M For Carrigan Rd – A Step Towards Economic Prosperity & Road Safety
Following a visit to the region on Friday 1 June 2018, The Hon. Melinda Pavey, Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight has committed to a one off contribution of $3.5m towards Council’s efforts to seal Carrigan Road (MR507), recognising the road’s importance as a vital link for communities and agribusiness.
Hosted by State Member of Parliament Adam Marshall, representatives from Moree Plains Shire Council and members of the local community, Minister Pavey was able to see firsthand the state of the gravel road and hear of the challenges community members face due to its condition.
Carrigan Road (MR507) in the Shire’s north spans 150 kilometres and provides a strategic connection from the Newell Hwy in Goondiwindi through to Boomi and Mungindi, as well as access to a large number of agricultural properties and residences. Currently the road is sealed between Goondiwindi and Boomi, but a 56km stretch between Boomi and Mungindi remains unsealed. The road is heavily used for the movement of produce and is recognised as being critical to road network connectivity. It is the only Regional Road in the Shire that remains unsealed.
Due to the large number of flood-ways and water crossings, Carrigan Road is often rendered impassable following relatively minor rain events. These events not only prevent access during the event but also for a period afterwards, resulting in its closure for an average of 33 days per annum.
Moree Plains Shire Council Mayor Katrina Humphries commended Ministers Pavey and Marshall on their significant contribution to the road sealing project “Council has been committed to sealing Carrigan Rd for many years, but given the cost to seal the 56km section is around $15 million, there is no way Council could undertake the project without support from the State or Federal Governments”.
“We thank Minister Pavey and Minister Marshall for their valuable commitment to the community, for coming out and meeting with our producers and residents, and taking our rural challenges seriously.
“The Moree Plains may be the most productive agricultural Shire in Australia, but unless our produce can get to market that productivity means nothing.
“Improving this road will allow producers to take advantage of positive commodity prices through guaranteeing delivery regardless of weather. It will ensure that kids can get to school safely, and farm employees can get to and from work.”
Councillor Humphries however noted that Council will continue pursuing other funding avenues for the project, as the $3.5m from the NSW Department of Roads, Maritime and Freight will only provide for sealing of approximately 13km of the road, still leaving 43km unsealed.
In recent years, Council has prioritised the repair and development of the road, undertaking a number of bitumen repair and shoulder widening works under the NSW Department of Roads, Maritime and Freight’s 50:50 funded REPAIR program. In addition to this, Council applied for funding of bitumen sealing of MR507 through the NSW Government’s Fixing Country Roads program in 2016 and 2017, and construction of concrete causeways under the Federal Government’s Building Better Regions Fund in 2017, but was unsuccessful.
Councillor Humphries added “the $3.5m commitment from Minister Pavey is a tremendous step in the right direction for Carrigan Rd, and Council are keen to get the ball rolling on construction of the 13km of bitumen as soon as possible”.
“We know we’ve got a way to go to deliver the full 56 kilometres required to truly unleash the economic potential of the properties on Carrigan Rd and ensure our communities stay connected and safe, but this is a great start.”
Carrigan Road (MR507) provides a strategic connection from the Newell Hwy in Goondiwindi through to Boomi and Mungindi, as well as access to a large number of agricultural properties and residences.