CONSTRUCTION on Bathurst's next major roads project, the duplication of the Great Western Highway from Kelso to Raglan, is due to start in spring.
State Member for Bathurst Paul Toole, who was made Minister for Regional Transport and Roads following the re-election of the Berejiklian government, says a final design for the duplication is close.
While the news has been welcomed by Councillor Ian North, who was calling for the Kelso to Raglan duplication back in 2015, he says Bathurst Regional Council needs to turn its attention to the roads servicing the city's major growth areas.
He says Hereford Street and Eglinton Road are feeling the strain as hundreds of homes are built on Bathurst's outskirts and council needs to start planning immediately for road duplication projects to ease the pressure.
"After 16 years as a councillor, I know that nothing happens overnight," he said in arguing that a commitment was needed to at least get the process started.
The $30 million duplication from Kelso to Raglan was announced in June last year by the NSW Government and early works have included geotechnical investigations and removing trees.
MP Mr Toole said preparatory work was continuing.
"There is going to be some early works up to the end of June, which will include additional tree removal and work on culverts," he said.
"Obviously, there are still discussions with some neighbours."
He said a final plan and design for the duplication will be released in the "next few months".
"Then major works will start after winter," he said. "We are looking at September for the start of those heavy physical works."
The highway will be upgraded to dual lanes from Ashworth Drive, Kelso to Ceramic Avenue, Raglan, adding to the 2.8 kilometres of dual lanes completed through Kelso in March 2017 in a $104 million, two-and-a-half-year project.
Cr North said he was pleased the start of the highway project was now close.
"You've always got to be happy to see something coming to fruition. I always said to people don't give up [on the duplication to Raglan]," he said.
But Cr North said council's priority now needed to be the roads within the city as subdivisions in Kelso and Eglinton put more and more cars on the major routes coming in to the CBD.
Hereford Street and Eglinton Road, he said, need to be duplicated to accommodate the city's population growth.
"You don't have to be a rocket scientist to realise that these are growth areas and the infrastructure is not there," he said.
Cr North said council had done "wonderful, wonderful work" in recent years in improving and building new sporting amenities for the city, but roads should now be the focus for the last year of the current council and the life of the council to follow.
He said a resident of the Kelso/Marsden area had told him it can take her 30 minutes to get home if she is leaving at the peak 3.30pm-4.30pm time.
"You get caught at the low level bridge, Hereford Street, the roundabout at the other end," Cr North said.