Last week’s Federal Budget included the allocation of $10 million toward the Scone Bypass and rail-overpass for the next financial year.
Should the State Government contribute a like amount, then we can expect a $20 million budget for 2016-17 works. This funding is part of the total $90 million that has been allocated to the project in State and Federal funding.
Council had a fairly positive meeting with the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) recently. They have conceded to make the interchanges more workable as well as acknowledging that the community, as a whole, were not happy with any of the rail overpass options. They have agreed to re-work these.
They have promised to have the bypass bedded down by June this year and hopefully at the same time have at least two acceptable rail overpass options that will go along with the project. The RMS are saying that the project is way over budget already, but Council have given them options that we consider would make it much cheaper and they are considering these.
With this in mind, I am hoping for a far more positive community consultation, particularly around the overpass when the RMS are here in June.
- Council is currently seeking feedback on our budget and draft plans for the next four years. One of the big projects is the Scone to Murrurundi Water Pipeline, which is budgeted for approximately $3.7 million expenditure next financial year, $5.5 million in 2017/18 and $5.5 million in the third year.
Most of the funding is a NSW Government Water Security for Regions grant while $1 million will be contributed by Council through borrowed funds. Council is in the concept planning stage, including identifying the 40km pipeline route. Staff have been studying other pipeline projects and toured the 15km Quirindi to Willow Tree Pipeline while it was under construction last year.
While we can always learn from our neighbours there are some important differences between the projects. The Quirindi to Willow Tree pipeline is 15km long, with an elevation of about 5 metres, didn’t include village reticulations and was built within the road reserve of a not very busy road.
The Murrurundi Pipeline will be twice as long, will be built alongside the very busy New England Highway, and will require negotiation and agreement with property owners.
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