BUILDING a road is never a simple task, especially in an area such as ours.
Swampy with icy winters, Orange and its surrounds prove a challenge at the best of times – just ask Orange City Council, which has had to change its road-building practices and spend a lot more money to ensure roads last longer.
However, the Guanna Hill Mitchell Highway upgrade has proven particularly difficult and construction looks likely to hit two years for just seven kilometres of new road.
Motorist frustration is starting to show, with multiple accidents along the stretch as drivers ignore construction speed limits.
Although it is no excuse, many no doubt would argue their hasn’t been much construction since the delays started in late September.
But imagine how puzzled we were when we asked NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) about the reason for the late delivery on Thursday and the reason we were given, in addition to the density testing issue, was wet weather.
Considering the region is experiencing an onset of drought, this explanation raises more questions than it answers, and after further inquiries on Friday, we are still yet to hear about how wet weather has been a factor in the past six months.
It also took further inquiries on Friday to determine why the project had gone from on time to delayed and where the work was up to.
Taxpayers can forgive an honest mistake because, let’s face it, sometimes conditions on the ground are different what was anticipated and problems have to be solved on the run – that’s why we have engineers.
In this case, it’s probably safe to say we would rather wait a little longer for a road that lasts rather than have it crack prematurely.
But to be understanding, we have to know what’s going on – whether the problem has been fixed, how long before it is fixed, how it’s being rectified and what that will mean for travelling through the area.
It is not good enough to batten down the hatches and hope the questions go away.
Because without that information, theories and conjecture in the community take over.
Western NSW parliamentary secretary Rick Colless was able to answer some of those questions and we hope that openness continues as this much-needed highway upgrade nears completion.