ACCORDING to the city's deputy mayor, Ben Fry, Bathurst can't sacrifice its opportunities to grow while it waits for the road network to catch up.
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Bathurst's road network has been a hot topic in recent years as some of the roads connecting the suburbs to the central business district struggle to accommodate increasing traffic.
Hereford Street ranks among the worst, getting heavily congested at peak times in the morning and afternoon as residents try to get to and from the newer estates in Kelso.
The situation has prompted calls for, not only an expansion of Hereford Street, but an entirely new road to be built to help bring traffic into town.
Despite this, Cr Fry says he wouldn't hesitate to approve new subdivisions while the city is waiting for such projects to come to fruition.
"I wouldn't be hesitant, because we need to attract as many people here as possible," he said.
"I know that we will have a plan in place anyway, so I won't be hesitant approving any other subdivisions that need to be made.
"We need to try to attract as many people to Bathurst as we can and grow sustainably, but progressively, too, and make sure that we're giving everybody the infrastructure they need in order to welcome them here.
"We want everyone to come to Bathurst and realise that the regional and rural lifestyle is so much better than the metropolis of Sydney and elsewhere, so I'll be looking to do as much as I can in my term."
While Cr Fry wants the population to grow, he is also keen for progress to be made on Hereford Street and the additional river crossing, the later being a long-term plan.
"Myself and a few other councillors, including the mayor, are desperate to see some kind of remediation of the river crossing as it is and then something to plan for the future," he said.
"Essentially that, to us, would look like a short-term fix for Hereford Street and a longer term fix that strategises for a bit of growth.
"It's publicly available in all the documents where our urban expansion areas are and people could probably guess that new potential road would sit somewhere along Eleven Mile Drive and connect to the other side to make four different [river] crossings for Bathurst."
A new river crossing could be at least 10 years away, but expanding Hereford Street could occur much earlier.
Last year, council resolved to endorse the upgrade of the Hereford Street corridor "as a priority", and proceed to identifying funding opportunities to achieve the various elements of the upgrade.
The current council term is set to be shorter than normal, with the next election to be held in September, 2024.
Cr Fry knows the Hereford Street project won't be complete, but he is hopeful substantial progress will be made by then.
"That's already on our agenda, to make sure that the Hereford Street ball is rolling in this term of council. We want to make sure that we have a plan, that we've delivered at least the promise to the people of Bathurst and Kelso that we are actually addressing this issue," he said.
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