Member for Orange Phil Donato has called for the arguments over the Northern Distributor to end and for someone to take responsibility for the road’s ongoing maintenance.
He has vowed to fight to ensure the road is adequately funded. When built by Orange City Council, the road was estimated to have 2500 vehicles using it each day.
Since construction the road’s usage has dramatically increased to 10,000 traffic movements each day, a third of which are heavy vehicles. “The Northern Distributor is unsuitable in its current condition,” Mr Donato said. “It’s a road which needs attention. I’d like to see someone take ownership of it and do something with it. “Whether it’s the local council, state government or federal government. If someone doesn’t I certainly will, we need to stop arguing about it and do something about it.”
Former Member for Orange Andrew Gee labelled the road as “violet crumble” but said the state government would not take over maintenance. Mayor John Davis said the road was built to take trucks out of the city’s main street and spur growth for North Orange.
“The bypass is currently a council road and we have a plan to upgrade it to meet the high traffic numbers it’s taking,” Councillor Davis said. “The community knows that it has not performed as well as it should and we are working to fix that. Despite being built to the standard of a high traffic local road it has become in part a de facto Mitchell Highway.
“In recent discussions with Roads and Maritime Services there’s been recognition that the bypass is doing the work of more than a local road. We will get it as good as we can but in the future if we can work with the NSW Government to make sure the road works well for regional traffic we’d be happy to do that.”