Friday 17 March, 2017
Good progress has been made during the first four weeks of the $4.3m upgrade of Appleby Lane and now crews are gearing up for two of the most challenging stages of the project which will include closing the road to through traffic for up to three months.
A six-kilometre unsealed section of Appleby Lane will be widened and sealed and the intersection of the lane and Manilla Road upgraded through a joint funding initiative of the Australian Government, NSW Government and Tamworth Regional Council. The project will benefit agricultural producers and freight operators by facilitating heavy vehicle access to Tamworth from the north.
Work started in the middle of the lane near the Fairs Road intersection on 17 February. About 1.5km is in the process of being widened and new drainage built.
From Tuesday 21 March, construction crews will move on to two stages of the project which will result in the lane being closed to through traffic for up to three months. However, Appleby Lane residents will continue to have car access to their properties.
Construction crews will first move to a 1.6km section of the lane towards the Manilla Road intersection where two large box culverts will be replaced. Temporary side tracks will be built near the site of each culvert to ensure Appleby Lane residents will continue to have car access, but the lane will be closed to through traffic for about eight weeks from Tuesday 21 March until about Thursday 4 May.
Once completed, the construction focus will move closer to the Gunnedah Road end of the lane to a 1.3km-long section with two hills. Up to two metres of earth will be removed from the crest of each hill to improve road safety by increasing the line of sight for motorists. This section of the lane will be closed to through traffic for up to four weeks from about Thursday 4 May until about Thursday 1 June.
Tamworth Regional Council Manager Civil Construction, Graeme McKenzie, said the upcoming stages of work are “quite complex and technically challenging”.
“There are a number of large box culverts and bulk earthworks to take about two metres off the top of two hills,” he said. “Some large plant and removal of a huge volume of soil will be involved and while the lane will need to be closed to through traffic, access will be maintained for residents at all times. We have spoken to most residents and they are quite excited about the project and are being super cooperative working with us to help balance their needs with the construction plan.”
The Appleby Lane upgrade will result in a key improvement to transport connections from north of Tamworth to the Glen Artney Industrial Area.
Funding for the project includes $1.566m from the Australian Government under Round Five of the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Programme, $1.566m from the State Government through the Restart NSW Fixing Country Roads Program and $1.193m from Tamworth Regional Council ($900,000 from the Civil Construction Reserve plus an additional $293,000 comprising an industry co-contribution and Section 94 contribution).