Port Macquarie-Hastings Council does not have plans to upgrade Lorne Road despite calls from residents and the Federal Member for Lyne Dr David Gillespie.
Residents who live in Lorne and regularly use the road between Kew and Comboyne say the sealing of the road would benefit the community.
“It would make it a whole lot safer for both locals and tourists,” Lorne resident Phil Bowman said.
“It would also encourage a lot more people to come and explore the Camden Haven.”
Mr Bowman said if Lorne Road is upgraded, other roads including Stewarts River Road should be upgraded too. He said this will enable vital areas to be connected.
Federal Member for Lyne Dr David Gillespie inspected Lorne Road on November 1 and said it’s time a ‘serious effort’ was made to upgrade the section between Kew and Comboyne.
Dr Gillespie was joined by Port Macquarie-Hastings Council director Jeffery Sharp and Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister Andrew Broad.
“I have been getting some fairly strong feedback this road is well and truly overdue for major improvements, particularly given the regional economic benefits a significant upgrade would bring,” Dr Gillespie said.
Initial estimates to seal and improve the road indicate the cost could be upwards of $20 million.
Dr Gillespie is keen for council to apply for federal funding to help get the upgrade underway.
“This is an important road that needs to be sealed,” he said.
“It is the last ‘missing link’ in the road circuit that connects the various towns and villages throughout the Hastings Valley.
“Importantly, it is a significant route that has a number limitations.”
However council director Jeffery Sharp said in the short term, council does not have plans to upgrade Lorne Road.
He said Lorne Road is one of many rural roads across the region that must be prioritised for upgrade.
Prioritisation considers important factors such as the condition of the road, road safety concerns, other critical projects and the overall cost/benefit for the community.
Mr Sharp said council does recognises the value that sealing Lorne Road would provide for local residents, agri-business and the local tourism industry.
“We will continue to explore funding opportunities with other levels of government to deliver a number of important transport upgrades and community projects required to support our growing community,” he said.
“Council is committed to ensuring our sealed and unsealed road network remains safe for all roads users.”