FIRST came the excitement surrounding news that American fast food giant Taco Bell was planning to open an outlet in Bathurst.
Now comes the more arduous debate over how that might work on a busy highway intersection.
Plans lodged with Bathurst Regional Council show Taco Bell intends to open at the corner of Stewart and Howick streets, no doubt intending to maximise its patronage from customers driving through town along the highway.
The choice of Bathurst as one of the first Taco Bell locations in NSW is a vote of confidence in this city's prosperity and also further acknowledgment of the geographic advantage we boast over other regional centres in NSW.
Sitting a comfortable two-and-a-half hour drive from Sydney makes Bathurst the perfect place for motorists to stop and rest on a long journey and it's no accident that so many of the world's fast food giants have a presence here [and often with more than one store].
By contrast, Orange [for motorists continuing their journey on the Mitchell Highway] is just a bit too far from Sydney to safely make that first stop while somewhere like Cowra [further down the Mid Western Highway] does not have the population needed to support an outlet such as Taco Bell.
But while all that might explain why Bathurst is attractive to Taco Bell (and our city won't go out of its way to deter any new business) it doesn't mean that Taco Bell should be given a free ride to set up shop.
It's still early days but it already looks like traffic management around the Howick-Stewart street intersection could be an issue for this development.
Currently, traffic heading west along Stewart Street can turn right into Howick Street and Howick Street traffic coming down from the hospital side can turn right onto the highway. Relatively low traffic numbers make it workable at present.
But if Taco Bell is to be a success then it would be hoping for big customer numbers, and that would change everything. Crucially, there appears to be no easy solution.
Highway traffic does not need another set of traffics lights to contend with and it does not seem the right spot for a roundabout.
In the end it will be up to Roads and Maritime Services to make a decision but it would not surprise if they ask for more clarity on Taco Bell's own (modest) predicted traffic numbers. Watch this space.