BATHURST Regional Council has to be prepared to commit significant money itself to secure financial support from the NSW Government to expand Hereford Street.
According to councillor Warren Aubin, the concept design for Hereford Street is being finalised by consultants and expected to be done before the end of the year.
The plans include replacing the low level bridge and expanding Hereford Street to four lanes up to the Gilmour Street intersection, which is also set to get an upgrade.
Cr Aubin said it would be "at least three years" before work gets under way on the project, but once complete it would significantly alleviate traffic congestion.
The project is estimated to cost $50 million, and he said council will need financial assistance from higher levels of government to fund a project of this magnitude.
"All tiers of government are going to have to put in for this kind of infrastructure. Council can't afford on its own to be putting that sort of money into one road, it's going to take a joint effort of governments," he said.
"It'll be done. It has to be done, because with our growth zone - and it's our major growth zone - at Kelso, the infrastructure is just being left behind with what's going on in developments."
But Member for Bathurst Paul Toole, who is also the Minister for Regional Transport and Roads, said council will have to do much more work before the NSW Government would consider contributing funds.
"This is a local road, it is a local council responsibility, it is something that [the NSW Government] can advocate for, but council have got to do some of the work themselves and they've got to commit some serious dollars to do it," he said.
"Council would need to put some dollars on the table for the project. They've allowed the development to continue to a problem where there is congestion; they've created the gridlock and the congestion on Hereford Street.
"They would need to put some dollars up to address the growth of the city that has occurred in that area."
Mr Toole indicated that one method council should employ to fund an upgrade of Hereford Street is developer contributions.
"As the city's grown, developer contributions would be with the council and they should have been invested back into this particular road," he said.
More planning, design and costing work would need to be done on the project and, once council completes those early steps, the NSW Government could consider a request for funding.
"It is a local road. It is the responsibility of the local council, but there are programs there to support councils from time to time and we'd be happy to advocate for that, but council has a lot of work they still have to undertake," Mr Toole said.
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