Highway dreams realised

IT’S OFFICIAL – the Cobb Hwy and Silver City Hwy are now 100 per cent sealed, with special guests joining the local community for the official opening at Mount Manara this week.

NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads, Jenny Aitchinson, attended the official opening of the state highways on Tuesday (November 14) joined by Member for Barwon, Roy Butler and former politicians, John Williams and Peter Black OAM plus Cobb Highway champion, John Elliott, along with local community members including Ivanhoe school staff and students who performed The Ivanhoe Song followed by a reading of poetry pertaining to Ivanhoe and the Cobb Hwy.

The Ivanhoe-Wilcannia section of the Cobb Hwy was the final stretch of the highway to be sealed. Minister Aitchinson acknowledged the work of previous governments and all those involved in the long campaign, including Duncan Gaye and other former National party members, current MP Mr Butler, Central Darling Shire Council, and the community for driving the project, with most praise going to the many workers who had “endured the heat, cold, dust, mud and setbacks to complete the road”.

Mr Black also gave credit to political colleagues on both sides, along with a special mention of former Wilcannia Tiger player William “Bill” Murray who’d worked with the Department of Main Roads (DMR) for many years “putting rocks onto the Cobb Highway.”

John Elliott gave credit to the staying power of those who kept the project moving forward recalling memories of “battling the old road” down to Ivanhoe to catch the old Silver City Comet that took him to the Red Bend school in Forbes.

Following the official opening, Minister Aitchison said that the focus would now be on road repairs especially important since the recent above average rainfall that resulted in flood damage.

The latest budget has given the Regional Energy Recovery and Resilience Facility $670 million of which $74 million is allocated for the Barwon electorate, including the unincorporated area.

With all highways now sealed, state government will move onto their Regional Integrated Transport planning to find out where people travel to access essential services such as health, education, jobs, and social activities, which may lead to changes in current road classifications which divides roads into State, Regional and Local and will provide the basis for further road improvement works, such as dual lanes and overtaking lanes along with more parking for heavy vehicles.

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