Limited value in Thurgoona-Wirlinga connector road

PLANS for a major road in the Thurgoona-Wirlinga growth corridor are on the backburner with Albury Council’s planning and development committee likely to vote against it today.

Council officers have said more research was needed before as much as $27 million was spent on an “east-west connector road”, a report to today’s committee meeting shows.

Almost 40 submissions — including a petition with 273 signatures — have been received following public consultation on five possible routes.

The preferred option was an extension from Corrys Road — between Elizabeth Mitchell Drive and Kerrs Road — an area expected to almost double Albury’s population of 52,000 within 50 years.

That route would cost about $20 million for the acquisition of 103,432 square metres of land and a 50-metre bridge over the Eight Mile Creek floodplain.

The report, on the council’s website, said there was a compelling argument something had to be done to handle future traffic because duplication of the Riverina Highway and Thurgoona Drive “would simply not be enough”.

But it also showed the proposed routes would only “moderately” relieve traffic at the Borella Road and Thurgoona Drive interchanges.

It said without “further augmentation” to overpasses and interchanges, “these crossings will remain pinch points” that constrain the road network capacity.

That issue showed there was a need for more analysis before the council’s staff could confidently recommend an east-west connector road.

Issues raised during the public consultation included:

- The huge cost to ratepayers for a connector road, of $15.5 million to $27.5 million, would result in only limited traffic reduction;

- Traffic safety issues on the Corrys Road-Racecourse Road interchange would be exacerbated by the construction and operation of a connector road;

- It would damage flora, fauna and the amenity of the area.

Alternatives offered included a ring road to link the Riverina and Hume highways north of Ettamogah Road and south of Williams Road, or upgrading the Riverina Highway and Thurgoona Drive.