The Northern Distributor Road has been revealed as a safety and economic benefit adding millions of dollars to the community.
A report on the total cost of the road was presented to Tuesday night’s Orange City Council meeting.
Orange Mayor John Davis said the community had been frustrated by the performance of the road but could be assured the road was good value for money.
“The cost benefit analysis shows that even though the road has cost an extra $13.8 million in upgrades since 2013, it still ticks every box in terms of benefit to the community compared to cost to ratepayers,” Cr Davis said.
“Most of the NDR from the Escort way through to the Mitchell Highway is of a standard which is greatly improved and I challenge anyone who is critical of the quality of the road to drive it from start to finish.
“There’s a few sections which, still need work but we’ve held off due to operational reasons such as the plan to build a new roundabout at the William Maker Drive intersection and the ongoing work at Clergate Road.”
The analysis compared the total cost of the NDR, including upgrades, to the cost of the Guanna Hill realignment project being done by the Roads and Maritime Services, on the Mitchell Highway.
The total cost of the NDR, including upgrades has reached $48.1 million, the total length of the project is 12.5 kilometres, or $3.8 million per kilometre.
In comparison, the restructure of the 7.2 kilometre section of the Mitchell Highway at Guanna Hill has been valued at about $40 million, or about $5.6 million per kilometer.
The Guanna Hill project has been designed for traffic volumes of around 3,000 vehicles per day, whereas the NDR carries between 10,500 vehicles per day between Hill Street and Leeds Parade and around 4,000 vehicles per day in the vicinity of Icely Road.
Orange City Council’s Infrastructure Chair Glenn Taylor said the comparison shows the NDR is value for money given both roads consist of a significant portion of new highway standard road construction through rural areas.
“More than half the NDR is through residential areas so we have also had additional costs such as buying land, building sounds barriers and landscaping,” Cr Taylor said.
“We’ve also had to put in four major roundabouts and 11 intersections as well as the major intersection with the highway at Bathurst Road and we’ve built three bridges.
“All of these elements add to the cost.
“We’ve looked at the costs of the projects compared to the benefits to the community and it comes out on top.
“When you look at the number of accidents prevented and environment benefits such as getting trucks out of the main street, the economic benefit to the community has already reached $22 million and is expected to be about $82 million over the next 20 years.”