It appears Singleton mayor Sue Moore’s plea for a better design for the town’s bypass of the New England Highway has been heard.
Earlier this week, the proud Singletonian called for a full interchange at Putty Road and John Street, as well as a dual carriageway, to ease traffic congestion through the busy CBD.
And, on Friday 16 April, NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro presented the good news to Cr Moore while visiting the area to support The Nationals’ Upper Hunter candidate David Layzell in the upcoming by-election.
“This project is too important to get wrong and today’s announcement by the NSW Government means it will now happen,” he said.
“Once built, it will transform Singleton and see an end to the 5am and 6pm traffic jams along the New England Highway,” Mr Layzell added.
“This government delivered the Scone bypass and that’s already transformed trips along the New England Highway.”
Cr Moore said she was thrilled with the outcome.
“I’d like to thank Mr Barilaro, Mr Layzell and Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole for their declaration,” she stated.
“I also thank Opposition Leader Jodi McKay for recognising this important issue and committing to a full interchange as part of Labor’s policy.
“The Putty Road interchange has been a major concern for our community to ensure the vitality of our town centre, making it easy for all motorists to exit onto John Street from any direction and quickly and easily get on their way again.
“As we well know, the bypass has long been on Singleton’s wish list.
“While it’s wonderful to have the funding for the project, it’s just as important to make sure we get the best outcome for our community and the wider Hunter region with a design that’s going to serve motorists now – and for decades to come.
“I have made it a vital part of my role as mayor to advocate for the needs of our residents by taking a strategic approach to presenting the issues that matter most to the people of Singleton to the decision-makers in Macquarie Street and Canberra.
“Today’s announcement is another significant result from the strength of that approach, most notably through the Singleton Advocacy Agenda and the relationships I have formed with our members of Parliament on all sides of politics.”
Cr Moore also expressed her gratitude, particularly, towards Mr Barilaro.
“We’ve had a number of conversations on this [matter] and a number of other issues,” she said.
“I acknowledge his work in delivering for Singleton when he says so, most notably through the delivery of reforms to the Resources For Regions program last year.
“I look forward to seeing the start of construction of the much-anticipated bypass project soon.
“And, to all motorists in the Hunter and beyond benefiting from the improvements in safety and efficiency that it will bring.”
Mr Layzell faces a tough battle to hold onto the Upper Hunter electorate, following the shock resignation of sitting member Michael Johnsen.
Singleton businesswoman Sue Gilroy (Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party), former Muswellbrook Shire deputy mayor and coal miner Jeff Drayton (NSW Labor), Muswellbrook Shire councillor Steve Reynolds (Independent), Upper Hunter Shire councillor Sue Abbott (Greens) and Singleton businessman Dale McNamara (One Nation) are among those in the running, too.
Meanwhile, Business Hunter has also welcomed pledges by the state government and Opposition to deliver improvements to the Singleton bypass.
CEO Bob Hawes said the commitment by the major parties to build a full interchange responded to community concerns about the original design.
“Business Hunter has identified the Singleton bypass as a key infrastructure priority for the Hunter region in our submissions to state and federal government over a number of years and agree with the community that it must be built properly to accommodate current and future traffic flow,” he explained.
“Now that the project has received the required funding commitments, it is important that we get shovels in the ground and get it completed.
“The bypass will redirect 26,000 vehicles, including more than 3,700 heavy vehicles, away from the centre of Singleton daily, relieving significant congestion, enhancing safety and amenity for residents and improving its productivity as a freight route.”