A BIG change could be coming for the popular route to Kelso, and it will come at a minimum cost of $25 million.
On Wednesday, Bathurst Regional Council will discuss a report about a proposed upgrade to the Hereford Street corridor, which has become one of the most congested roads in the city following the increase in housing in Kelso.
Council appointed WSP Australia in November 2020 to prepare a preliminary design for the upgrade of the corridor, from Durham Street to Gilmour Street.
The brief required a concept design for the Hereford Street corridor with a design life of at least 20 years, and the bridge to be of a higher flood immunity.
That preliminary design work has since been completed and was returned to council in September.
It includes signalisation of the Hereford and Gilmour Street intersection and associated widening of Gilmour Street; the construction of a new four-lane bridge; and the duplication of Hereford Street to two lanes in each direction between Gilmour and Stanley streets.
For traffic to flow smoothly, there would also need to be an alteration to the traffic signals at Durham and George Streets, signalisation of the intersections at George and Stanley streets and George and Elizabeth streets, and associated road widening of George Street to two lanes in each direction between Stanley Street and Durham Street.
WSP has estimated a cost of $25 million for the upgrade, but there are other costs not yet accounted for.
"WSP, as part of their brief, prepared a preliminary cost estimate for the whole project which is in the order of $25 million, plus land acquisition and utility relocation costs," the report from council staff said.
"Additional design work, together with environmental and cultural heritage assessments, are also required to be funded to refine the design for construction.
"... Council will need to consider the additional allocation of funds in future budgets in order to progress the project. Council may also need to review its Developer Contributions Plan to include the proposed works."
As the project will come at a significant cost, council will need to pursue external funding.
Staff have recommended that council endorse the upgrade of the corridor "as a priority", and proceed to identifying funding opportunities to achieve the various elements of the upgrade.
According to council, the proposed upgrade will ensure the corridor can support the existing planned growth of Kelso and Laffing Waters.
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