Councillors to finally vote on fully funding West Bathurst roundabout

CAMPAIGN: The hard work of roundabout campaigners Dianne and Kent McNab looks set to be rewarded. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK
CAMPAIGN: The hard work of roundabout campaigners Dianne and Kent McNab looks set to be rewarded. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK

THE long campaign to have a roundabout installed at Bathurst’s worst intersection should clear its final hurdle on Wednesday night with councillors expected to agree to fully funding the project.

City engineers first recommended 20 years ago that a roundabout be built at the intersection of Lambert, Suttor and Mitre streets to cope with the expected increases in population around West Bathurst, Windradyne and Llanarth.

But successive councils ignored the findings of at least three engineers’ reports since the 1990s until residents Kent and Dianne McNab made it their mission to make a roundabout a reality.

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The McNabs were prompted by a crash at the intersection in November 2016 that saw a car slam into the fence outside the Assumption School. They say had the crash occurred just an hour earlier as students were heading to school, it could have been a tragedy.

The McNabs collected more than 5000 signatures calling for a roundabout to be built and also lobbied for state and federal government funding for the project.

And their hard work is expected to be rewarded on Wednesday night when councillors vote on a report by general manager David Sherley that finally details how council will fully fund the roundabout.

Mr Sherley’s report says the bulk of the $1.7 million price tag for the roundabout will come from the $950,000 set aside by Bathurst Regional Council in last year’s budget with $600,000 to come from developer contributions and $150,000 from the 2018-19 budget.

“Council resolved through the 2017-18 budget process to allocate the necessary funding for utility service adjustments and car parking upgrades, with the outstanding amount allocated to capital grants for intersection construction, to be obtained through application to the Federal Government's Black Spot Funding Program,” Mr Sherley states in the report.

“In July 2017, council submitted an application to the 2018/19 round of the Federal Black Spot Funding Program. This sought $750,000 in funding for intersection upgrade works, as no other part of the total project costs could be claimed as directly related to these works.

“In late March 2018, council was advised by the Federal Government that its application for funding under the 2018/19 Federal Black Spot Funding Program was not successful.”

If councillors finally approve the full funding of the roundabout, it is expected work will start within months. Campaigners hope the roundabout will be open before the start of the 2019 school year.