The higher numbers of heavy trucks in the main street of Orange this week are a timely reminder of the value of Orange City Council’s decision to build the northern bypass, according to Orange mayor John Davis.
 
The eastern section of the bypass between Mitchel Highway and Icely Road is closed to traffic for an upgrade this week, with that closure now set to be extended due to dropping temperatures, prompting more trucks take the route down Summer Street.
 
Mayor John Davis OAM said the extra temporary traffic makes an important point for Orange residents.
 
“The quality of the road surface on the bypass has copped some criticism from the community and that’s fair enough,” Cr John Davis said. “The work that’s closed the bypass this week is a sign this council is getting on with the job of upgrading that surface. There’s more work to do but many drivers are already commenting about what a difference the new hot-mix surface has made.”
 
“The important thing for some of the critics to remember is to ask what if we hadn’t built it in the first place?”
 
“Thousands of cars a day are using the bypass, and if it wasn’t there, these are the cars that would be spread across other main streets around Orange. In the week before the bypass closed, a traffic counter on the section of the bypass around William Make Drive recorded more than 14-thousand vehicles in a single day.”
 
Orange City Councillor Chris Gryllis has operated a business in Summer St for many years.
 
“Businesses in Summer Street are noticing many more timber trucks and semi-trailers rolling alongside the café tables”, Cr Chris Gryllis said. “Next week, the bypass will be open again and it will all be back to normal, but it’s a good reminder of what it would be like if the council hadn’t taken on this project in the first place.”
 
Mayor John Davis said he appreciates the patience of Orange residents while the section of the bypass is closed.
 
“The bypass closed on Friday 21 April so that contractors could apply a ‘primer-undercoat’ seal on the section of the bypass between Icely Road and the Mitchell Highway. That seal required three days to set and cure and that stage of the upgrade has now been completed,” Cr John Davis said. “The next stage of applying two layers of a bitumen-gravel road surface requires warmer temperatures than Orange has experienced in recent days, so the closure has had to be extended for a couple of days.”
 
“It’s now expected that the contractor will start laying that surface on Sunday, and weather permitting, that will let traffic start to use one lane of traffic by Monday next week. “
 
“Bitumen is heated to a very high temperature before it is sprayed onto the roadway. Temperatures are forecast to rise over the weekend and waiting for a couple of days will get a better result.”