MidCoast Council is struggling to get State and Federal funding for the Thunderbolts Way upgrade.
In February 2017, MidCoast Council announced it had earmarked $1.5 million of the Strong Communities - Major Projects Fund for the Giro upgrade on Thunderbolts Way.
The projected cost of the safety upgrade of the notoriously dangerous stretch of road is $4.5 million and will require additional State and Federal funding in order to be completed.
To date the roadworks haven’t been started, however council said it is actively seeking additional funding from multiple streams to deliver the project.
“Design is nearing completion and next step is to discuss acquisition of land to widen the road reserve with National Parks and Wildlife Services,” a council spokesperson said.
After the meeting it was indicated Mr Joyce would raise the issue with the then Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Darren Chester.
Recently, Advance Gloucester has followed up on the funding with Mr Joyce, federal member for Lyne David Gillespie and the current deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport, Michael McCormack.
In a letter to Advance Gloucester, Mr Joyce outlined his ongoing support of the project indicating he had held a meeting with Mr McCormack to discuss the matter.
Dr Gillespie told the group in a letter that he was also supporting the project and was seeking a response from Mr McCormack.
In a response to Advance Glouceser, Mr McCormack stated his understanding of the project’s importance and his knowledge of MidCoast Council’s application for grant funding.
Mr McCormack explained that he had announced successful funding for the black spot project for 2018-2019 earlier in the year and advised the group to “confirm with MidCoast Council that it will be renominating the Giro section of the Thunderbolts Way for funding under the Black Spot Program in 2019-2020.”
However, he noted that neither the Bucketts Way nor the Giro section of the Thunderbolts Way have been identified as priorities by the NSW Government for Australian Government funding. The Bucketts Way south of Gloucester had State funding announced in May 2017 but due to being unable to source federal funding that project is yet to proceed.
How that these roads get listed as a priority with the Roads and Maritime Service (RMS) seems to attract a confusing answer.
Dr Gillespie said it’s a matter for the NSW Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, Melinda Pavey.
A spokesperson for Ms Pavey said it was up to local council (MidCoast Council) and the local member (Member for Upper Hunter, Michael Johnsen) to lobby for the roads to be added to the list.
In February 2017, Mr Johnsen took Ms Pavey on a road trip through the region in order to highlight the poor state of the roads. He was pushing for the State Government to kick in the $1.5 million share of the Giro Project on the Thunderbolts Way.
Both Mr Johnsen and Ms Pavey were asked why the Bucketts Way and the Giro section of the Thunderbolts Way have not been listed as a priority, but neither had responded at the time of publication.
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