Soft soil work continues on the upgrade of the Pacific Highway near the Harwood Bridge.
Soft soil work continues on the upgrade of the Pacific Highway near the Harwood Bridge. Adam Hourigan

Bridging The Gap - Pt III: Highway to split precinct in two

IF YOU drive along any rural freeway they bypass communities with room to spare.

An exception is Albury, where it runs through the centre of the city but is right next to the railway line.

Maclean, Townsend, Gulmarrad and James Creek (M-T-G-JC) are a single community, which I call the Maclean Precinct. It has a current, but growing, population of 7000 people with the majority in Townsend-Gulmarrad and James Creek, and for this majority the various facilities they need are in Maclean.

>> BRIDGING THE GAP - PT II: Townsend precinct centre

To function there needs to be easy access to as many parts of the precinct as is practical.

Having the dividing hill is bad enough; adding a 6km long "Berlin Wall" is absurd.

No Caption
No Caption Bill North

So why are they putting our highway right through the centre of the Maclean Precinct?

Probably because our leaders, particularly those living in Maclean, prefer to ignore the fact that Townsend, Gulmarrad and James Creek exist. Obviously the true situation didn't make it to the road designers far away.

The highway should have been routed on the east side of James Creek Road, with the new bridge further (500m) downstream, so that proper exits could have been constructed on both sides of the river.

>> BRIDGING THE GAP - PT I: Three strikes at bridging the gap

And instead of ending the old highway at Ferry Park, and restarting it at the river it could have been retained as a local artery, to be used in future precinct developments. What a stuff up!

So what is still possible?

Probably not much, but the retention of an upgraded Jubilee Street with people paths on each side, the development of Farlows Lane as a major connection and upgrading James Creek Road must be included in the highway development.

And whoever it was in the CVC who signed off on the current shemozzle should be tarred, feathered and run out of town.

John Ibbotson, Gulmarrad



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