Next stage underway for Kempsey Road upgrade

Road surface improvements are underway along a 2.7km section of Kempsey Road, in the latest stage of an extensive upgrade of the important link between the New England Tablelands and the coast.

A new gravel surface is being laid along the section near Jeogla Station, where traffic has seriously eroded the road surface.

Work began last month using gravel sourced from the previous stage, which sealed a 2.3km section of Kempsey Road between Oakey River Dam and Oakey Bridge.

The Oakey River stage, completed in May, also widened the section of road, improved its alignment and extended sight distances.

“The completed section is a great example of how each stage will enhance safety for road users, particularly the stock trucks and other heavy vehicles that use Kempsey Road,” Armidale Regional Council Mayor Simon Murray said.

“Road widening on a number of sections will also enable semitrailers to access properties along the road, which is a valuable east-west connection.”

The Oakey River stage was funded by a $500,000 grant through the Federal Government’s Drought Communities Program, $440,000 through the State Government’s Fixing Country Roads program, and $212,000 from the Federal Stronger Regions Fund.

An additional $4.6 million grant for the remaining stages has been announced by the NSW Member for Northern Tableland, Adam Marshall, to be sourced from the NSW Fixing Country Roads program.

Another eight stages are planned, with work scheduled between early 2020 and April 2022.

Planning is well underway for sections known as White Bluff, the Slips and the top of the Big Hill.

“Kempsey Road provides a link to a spectacular part of the Armidale region and offers an alternative connection to the coast,” Councillor Murray said.

“Council has been liaising closely with communities along the road and Kempsey Shire Council to lobby for a change of status for the section of road in our region.

“We would like to see it upgraded from a regional road to a State road, to bring it in line with the portion in Kempsey Shire.”

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