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More Yamba roundabout conjecture

Geoff Helisma |

At next week’s June 25 Clarence Valley Council meeting, councillors will make another decision about how to manage traffic at the Yamba Road and Treelands Drive intersection.

After initially deciding to install traffic lights, as a result of the service station currently under construction at the intersection, councillors subsequently rescinded that decision at an extraordinary meeting in September last year and, instead, voted to install a non-conforming roundabout “with an estimated cost of up to $500,000” and to “complete the detailed design for the non-conforming roundabout”.

The rescission motion, brought by councillors Toms, Ellem and Clancy, got over the line as a result of the mayor, Jim Simmons, changing his mind – he initially supported traffic lights – councillors Toms, Novak, Ellem, Clancy and Simmons were in support, councillors Baker, Lysaught, Kingsley and Williamson were opposed.

Only councillors Baker and Kingsley (Cr Lysaught had left the meeting before the vote was taken) opposed the non-conforming roundabout.

Staff have advised councillors that “design and investigation work to date has revealed that the works required … cannot be undertaken within the existing $500,000 estimate”.

Apart from constructing the roundabout, staff advised that there are “necessary service relocations” and other “current cost restricting factors”, such as “overhead electricity relocations, alternate pavement materials and land acquisitions” to consider.

“It is recommended that the expenditure limitation of $500,000 be removed from the current resolution, which would allow Council to consider a range of pavement and other associated construction options for the roundabout at Yamba Road and Treelands Drive,” staff wrote.

“Whilst it is recommended that the limitation be removed from the Treelands/Yamba Road roundabout, expenditure would be managed across the … intersection upgrades to within the limitations of the [grant] funding agreement.”

The council won a $4.4million NSW Government Restart NSW grant, announced in February, after developing a business case for “improving access to Yamba Road”.

The funding program of $5,728,000, including a CVC contribution of $1,300,484, is “for the construction of four intersection upgrades (roundabouts) on Yamba Road, including at the Yamba Road/Treelands Drive intersection” and the Yamba Street/Yamba Road intersection on Palmers Island.

Developers of the service station will contribute eight percent towards the roundabout’s construction.

Staff advised councillors at the August 2018 meeting that a signalised intersection (traffic lights) would cost an estimated $501,000, noting that the option would “require minimal acquisitions for the initial installation”, however, the future construction of an additional travel lane to meet increased traffic over time would require “additional acquisitions” and the signalised intersection would generate “higher operational” costs.