The Feds put up $971 million in the budget for a Coffs Harbour bypass to avoid 12 sets of traffic lights and free up traffic.
We can beat that. Drivers going through Orange have to battle through 14 sets of lights – some of them on top of each other – and that does nothing for traffic flow here.
A cross-city run from the Greengate intersection to Lone Pine Avenue resulted in some interesting figures, even though traffic was medium-light and some of the lights were either green or almost at the end of their cycle.
The 4.7-kilometre trip took 11 minutes and 45 seconds, while the total time stopped at traffic lights with engine idling was three minutes and 31 seconds.
That’s an average speed for the distance of 24km/h, which isn’t real flash.
But we’ll have to wait up to 10 years or more before our bypass, distributor road, now feeder road, can be finished so there’s a faster north and south way around the city.
The council has mostly funded the lot but has been promised more by the government, although by the time it’s all joined up it will have taken at least 60 years from go to whoa.
Talking of Coffs Harbour, the Nats were being sneaky again letting their federal MP Luke Hartsuyker announce the funding the day before it came out in the budget.
Would it have had anything to do with the Nats worried about losing the seat because Rob Oakeshott, who had campaigned for the bypass when in State parliament, ran a solid campaign against Hartsuyker in the 2016 elections?
INDIAN PACIFIC RATTLING STRAIGHT THROUGH
THE Indian Pacific is one of Australia’s most popular icons and the four-day trip from Sydney across the Nullabor to Perth is Australia’s longest train journey and one of the world’s best.
For passengers who wanted to join the 4,352-kilometre transcontinental trip there were stops along the way to do that, and Orange, or at least the small 1950s bus shelter with a single board seat perched on a steel and timber platform at East Fork, was one of them.
But Great Southern Rail has ditched Orange along with other places and the Indian Pacific now stops only at Broken Hill, Adelaide, Cook and Rawlinna.
At Broken Hill and Adelaide, passengers have a choice of off-train excursions. So Orange is still getting a raw deal from the railways, battling to get the Bathurst Bullet to come on to Orange and now the Indian pacific going straight past.
DROUGHT OR ‘DRYNESS’ – WHAT’S IN A WORD?
THE crippling drought is in the news every day but a few years ago the fat cats on a Federal government hand-picked ‘expert’ committee wanted people to start using the word ‘dryness’ instead of drought.
The word ‘drought’ made farmers feel bad, the committee reckoned.
The politically-correct push also aimed to make farmers accept that drier weather was here to stay and was not a temporary crisis.
Words like drought had negative connotations for farm families and there needed to be a new national approach to living with dryness, “as we prefer to call it, rather than dealing with drought," the committee reported.
But isn’t a drought a drought? Changing the name won’t help matters. Just ask the hundreds of farmers now struggling to survive and urgently needing government help.