A new Regional Freight Transport Plan identifying key priority road infrastructure projects and strategies for completion has been developed for the southern Riverina and Murray areas of NSW.
In announcing the outlined strategies to coincide with Road Safety Week 2020, Riverina and Murray Joint Organisation (RAMJO) Chairperson Cr. Kevin Mack said this collaborative approach to transport planning will allow advocacy for further government funding opportunities to improve transport infrastructure within the region, also leading to safer roads and driving conditions.
“The capacity to run B-doubles and high-performance vehicles (HPV) on some of our rural road networks is still limited and more investment is needed to upgrade bridges and roads,” Cr. Mack said.
“The plan identifies corridors to facilitate the efficient and effective movement of freight, outlines the development of integrated freight transport solutions, removes identified transport constraints and supports the growth and development of logistics solutions that improve freight movement.”
Cr. Mack said that in developing the key priorities, a number of factors were considered, including the history of fatalities and injuries, the level of road use, the type of freight transported, impacts on local amenities and regional economic outcomes, and includes national and state roads, regional and local roads, railways and airports.
“Convening the development and implementation of the plan included extensive consultation process and the establishment of a sub-committee between RAMJO’s 11 member councils, industry representatives and Transport for NSW. We are now looking forward to collaboratively seeking funding opportunities to enable the projects to get underway,” Cr. Mack said.
During 2016, there was 482 million tonnes of freight moved within NSW. This is forecast to increase to 618 million tonnes of freight moved by 2036. Regional NSW’s freight task is forecast to grow around 12 per cent by 2036, from 255 million to 286 million tonnes.
Cr. Mack said that whilst this forecasted growth will bring opportunities for the growth of logistics based enterprises such as the Ettamogah Rail Hub, WR Connect (Leeton), the Tocumwal intermodal facility, and inland rail, it will add pressure for road and rail networks in the RAMJO region, which could hinder the establishment or expansion of industries and impact on further economic development in our council areas if projects are not funded.
“We believe it is important to reach our regional transport infrastructure improvement targets, especially as we are also currently seeing an increase in freight logistics in our agricultural sector on our local rural roads with grain harvest activity.”
The next steps for RAMJO will be to review inland rail and improving air freight connections throughout its regional network.
RAMJO’s member councils are Albury City Council, Berrigan Shire Council, Carrathool Shire Council, Edward River Council, Federation Council, Griffith City Council, Hay Shire Council, Leeton Shire Council, Murray River Council, Murrumbidgee Council and Narrandera Shire Council.