Federal government announces a further $2 million to fix Merriwa to Willow Tree Road after failed upgrade, but says more needed

Former Upper Hunter Shire Council mayor Wayne Bedggood, New England MP Barnaby Joyce and Liverpool Plains Shire Council mayor Andrew Hope inspect the progress of the Merriwa to Willow Tree Road upgrade in October 2018.
Former Upper Hunter Shire Council mayor Wayne Bedggood, New England MP Barnaby Joyce and Liverpool Plains Shire Council mayor Andrew Hope inspect the progress of the Merriwa to Willow Tree Road upgrade in October 2018.

NEW England MP Barnaby Joyce has announced a further $2 million in funding for the sourthern part of the Merriwa to Willow Tree Road, also known as Coulsons Creek Road.

While the funding is a start, he says a lot more will be needed to complete the project which has already had significant delays.

The road underwent a $12 million upgrade which was completed in October 2019, involving a substantial realignment and the sealing of the dirt road, however the work undertaken by Upper Hunter Shire Council has to be redone to meet safety requirements as it has significant deficient sections.

The funding will come from the Federal Government's Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program.

"We've got a further $2 million going into the Willow Tree to Merriwa road - now I don't think that's going to be enough, I think we're going to need a lot more," Mr Joyce said.

"Of course it was really disappointing after fighting so long and so hard to get a second range crossing for the New England - which is Merriwa to Willow Tree Road - to see the issues that happened with the bad weather and the road falling away.

"But I've started the process - I've got $2 million for that road to start off with and I know there's more that needs to come but I'm hard at work trying to do that."

Upper Hunter Shire Council apologised to users of the road, the NSW and Federal governments who provided funding, and the Liverpool Plains Shire, for the ongoing delays in completing the work earlier this year.

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