Road re­pairs aid farm pro­duc­tion

$1m up­grade helps farm­ers

Gatton Star - - NEWS - Meg Bolton Meg.bolton@gat­ton­

SOM­ER­SET Coun­cil’s plans to widen the Esk-crows Nest Road could be­come a re­al­ity in a bid to in­crease ac­ces­si­bil­ity and busi­ness po­ten­tial in the drought-stricken area.

If ap­proved by the gov­ern­ment, the up­grades set to be com­pleted by June next year will al­low trucks to ac­cess the area with in­creased ease and safety.

Som­er­set Mayor Graeme Lehmann said the $1 mil­lion up­grade would be ben­e­fi­cial to the area.

“We want to im­prove safety and pro­duc­tiv­ity for trucks car­ry­ing fod­der, farm sup­plies and cat­tle by widen­ing the bi­tu­men,” Cr Lehmann said.

“We will widen the bi­tu­men seal on parts of the road that are only 4.4 me­tres wide cur­rently.”

With about 90 trucks us­ing the road daily, Cr Lehmann said the up­grade would bet­ter con­nect the area to towns out­side the re­gion. “There are some big prop­er­ties in that area and Esk-crows Nest Road also links through to the Toowoomba Re­gional Coun­cil area,” he said.

The fund­ing is part of a Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment ini­tia­tive aimed at help­ing coun­cils in drought stricken ar­eas pay for lo­cal in­fra­struc­ture projects and other drought-re­lief ac­tiv­i­ties. The pro­gram is in­tended to pro­vide short-term sup­port, by boost­ing lo­cal em­ploy­ment and pro­cure­ment, and ad­dress­ing so­cial and com­mu­nity needs.

“The Drought Com­mu­ni­ties Pro­gram helps boost lo­cal economies with an im­me­di­ate cash in­jec­tion and al­lows us to in­vest the money in some­thing that will be a long term ben­e­fit to our farm­ers,” Cr Lehmann said

The DCP con­di­tions sug­gest em­ploy­ing lo­cal businesses to com­plete the up­grades, but it is yet to be

❝ We want to im­prove safety and pro­duc­tiv­ity for trucks car­ry­ing fod­der, farm sup­plies and cat­tle by widen­ing the bi­tu­men.

— Graeme Lehmann

con­firmed who will be con­tracted for the work.

“When the Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment an­nounced the fund­ing they said that they would like to see the money spent with lo­cal con­trac­tors and we are wait­ing to see the guide­lines for more in­for­ma­tion about re­quire­ments,” Cr Lehmann said. “We are con­scious of the re­quire­ment that this work has to be done by 30 June 2019 and we are con­fi­dent we can de­liver this project by then.”

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