DUTY senator for Calare Matt Thistlethwaite experienced life as a truck driver yesterday as he cruised the north Orange bypass in a semi-trailer.
Senator Thistlethwaite jumped in the truck after he unveiled a plaque to mark the Northern Distributor Road’s official opening.
“Before the construction of the bypass, traffic along the Mitchell Highway would hit a snag in the city of Orange with over 18,000 vehicles travelling through its heart everyday, having significant practical, environmental and social impacts on the city,” Mr Thistlethwaite said.
“This is great news for all motorists who will benefit from reduced congestion, improved road safety and shorter travel times along the Mitchell Highway.
“It is also great news for the safety of residents, with fewer vehicles, especially trucks, through the areas of town with the highest volume of pedestrian traffic.”
Orange mayor John Davis said the new bypass would relieve the Mitchell Highway of significant pressure.
“The Mitchell Highway is the major link road between the Sydney metropolitan area and the central, far west and north-west of NSW,” he said.
“It is also the only continuous freight corridor between Dubbo and Sydney, so a large number of heavy trucks use the route, travelling to Dubbo and on to Sydney via Orange.
“For example, the Mitchell Highway-Peisley Street intersection in the heart of Orange’s CBD is believed to be one of the state’s busiest outside metropolitan areas, and we’re already noticing less trucks at this corner since traffic started using the bypass.”
Cr Davis said the completed north Orange bypass would support the region by allowing for better traffic flow and more efficient freight movement.
Stage one and stage two of the bypass were constructed at a cost of $17 million. The federal government contributed $10 million to stage two and Orange City Council contributed $7 million to both stages.