THE $45 million work to widen the Great Western Highway from Kelso to east of Raglan has lost more than 50 days to wet weather since March.
Though a rainy year in which Bathurst had almost 1000 millimetres was welcomed by farmers and has led to a sleepy bushfire season to date, the wet change has caused disruptions on the city's biggest transport project since the widening of the highway through Kelso was completed in 2017.
Transport for NSW has given an assurance that the upgrade remains a priority and says it will be looking for ways to make up for the lost time on the project.
"The upgrade ... has progressed in recent months, with work continuing at Raglan to stabilise the lower layers of the earthworks on the section between PJ Moodie Memorial Drive and Napoleon Street as well as on the open major drain along the northern properties, including the airport," a Transport for NSW spokesperson said in an update.
"Revegetation of this drainage line has also started.
"The next step for the Kelso to Raglan upgrade is work to adjust utilities, including gas relocation, to allow for drainage works. These activities are anticipated to start in the first quarter of 2022."
Due to "recent extreme wet weather", the spokesperson said, "heavy patching of the current pavement between Kelso and Raglan also had to be carried out, with the project team assisting with a number of urgent repairs and incident management at other locations along the Great Western Highway".
"The project has been significantly impacted by weather due to 777 millimetres of rain falling within the project area since March," the spokesperson said.
"This has resulted in the loss of 54 days, or nearly one-third of the available working days within the program.
"COVID-19 has also impacted on the construction timing due to contractor availability and, where possible, reducing third party attendance on site, for the safety of our team and the community."
The spokesperson said Transport for NSW "continues to prioritise delivery of this upgrade and will assess the impacts to the overall program in the new year, including reviewing any efficiencies that can be achieved to offset impacts by extreme weather and COVID-19".
The upgrade will create two lanes in both directions from Ashworth Drive to Napoleon Street, and two lanes eastbound and one lane westbound from Napoleon Street to the east of Ceramic Avenue.
There will also be new turning paths at highway intersections and traffic lights installed at the PJ Moodie Memorial Drive intersection, which provides access to the airport.
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