The General Manager
Orange City Council
P.O.†† Box 35
ORANGE††† NSW††† 2800
Re: Central West Transport Forum, Submission to Orange Northern Distributor Road, south east extension, EIS.
The Central West Transport Forum believes the Northern Distributor Road (NDR) extension EIS is deficient in a number of ways. Our main concerns relate to its lack of analysis of transport efficiency relating to the long-term community needs and expectations from these developments.
The treatment of the issue of town bypassing is important given that much of the future improvements in the road network will be achieved by the establishment of alternative routes for express regional traffic. There is also an increasing need for this because of the apparent lack of government interest in providing alternative transport systems for public use.
†We believe that weakness in current government planning protocols relating to highway and trunk road developments, particularly town bypass proposals, is a major contributing factor responsible for this failure.
While the consultants work may satisfy current requirements for such studies we find it disturbing that the outcomes resulting from other similar investigations, in many cases are failing to provide best results for regional road users.
It would appear that it is the Orange City Councilís intention that this project should become a part of the future Mitchell Highway. If so, it will become an important part in the inter-regional connection system.
The need to address deficiencies in State infrastructure planning is increasingly important given the impacts of rail minimisation, the increasing centralisation of the marketing and processing of farm produce, the growth of mining in the region and the escalation of fuel and transport costs.
We also note that while the activities of private development are closely scrutinised through stringent planning controls and building regulations the same appears not to apply to the activities of Government agencies responsible for major road planning.
We believe that efficient highway planning may be achieved only through a State commitment to a complete revision of current planning procedures and processes. This would include planning of bypasses such as the NDR.
The Central West Transport Forum also believes that roads classified as bypasses should include:
The NDR and proposed extension appears to fail in most of the above respects.
While this eastern extension of the NDR will increase the efficiency for traffic seeking alternative access the industrial developments north of Orange it will not provide the express bypass needed for the efficient passage of through Mitchell Highway traffic. Furthermore, because the additional distance involved, the route will be unattractive for traffic approaching Orange from the Escort Way and Cargo roads.
Because of these shortcomings, it is our view that the proposal must be considered only as part of the Orange domestic road system and should be financed accordingly.
An alternative proposal for a bypass of Orange is attached. We believe that it could provide much improved connection and operational efficiency than the NDR project. This alternative option would be completely removed from the residential areas of Orange passing west through the Neals Lane vicinity and extending south and west of water reservoirs then reconnecting with the Mitchell Highway south of Lucknow. This proposal could maximise time and energy savings and increase safety for all Mitchell Highway users.
Note: This proposal was submitted to the Orange City Council for inclusion in the feedback to the original NDR EIS. It was not acknowledged despite the fact that consideration of alternatives is an essential part of any sound planning operation.
Central West Transport Forum