COUNCILLORS have urged progress on the Forest Road bridge project after government departments refused to hold $2.5 million in funding to improve detour routes.
Orange City Council wrote to the state and federal governments in February asking if grant money for the bridge duplication could be held until more of the Southern Feeder Road could be built.
Councillors requested the delay due to the pressure on Anson Street during closures.
The review of environmental factors contains two road closure plans – one would introduce occasional contraflow arrangements during 53 days of the construction period, divert northbound traffic via the Southern Feeder Road, Anson Street, Tynan Street and Gardiner Road for about 218 days and close the bridge in both directions for three days.
The other would include 43 days where occasional contraflow could occur, divert northbound traffic for 99 days and close the bridge completely for 99 days.
Councillor Kevin Duffy asked on Tuesday to send a delegation to the two government bodies.
But after acting technical services director Wayne Gailey said the council was required to use the funding within the original timeframe or risk losing it, councillors did not support the idea.
Deputy mayor Jason Hamling said the traffic issues were going to cause mayhem, but the council was warning the public.
“Aren’t we putting off the inevitable? How long do we put it off?” he said.
“We have to fix this bridge.”
Councillor Ron Gander said when the Northern Distributor Road was closed for roadwork last month, the majority of traffic adjusted within 48 hours.
“In the end, it’s going to be a wonderful thing for traffic going to the hospital, to the industrial areas,” he said.
Cr Hamling said after the meeting he was confident arrangements could be made with James Sheahan Catholic High School to ease congestion at school times and the second hospital entrance off Huntley Road meant motorists could access the campus from the eastern side.
The second bridge would enable B-doubles to safely cross the Broken Hill rail line rather than taking an eight-kilometre diversion to access Peisley Street or Forest Road.