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Yamba residents and council staff gathering at the Yamba Road and Treelands Drive intersection prior to Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis’s announcement of a $4.4million Growing Local Economies Fund grant to build roundabouts on Yamba Road. Image: Geoff Helisma.

State funds $4.4m Yamba Road upgrade

Geoff Helisma |

Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis last week announced that Clarence Valley Council (CVC) had won a grant to construct a series of roundabouts on Yamba Road.

The council applied to the NSW Government’s Growing Local Economies Fund in April 2017.

At the August 2018 CVC meeting, councillors approved matching the government’s $20,000, to develop a business case for ‘Improving Access to Yamba Road’.

This money was also used to develop a business case for ‘Connecting the Harwood Marine Precinct’s’, grant application to the fund.

As a result of winning the grant, CVC intends “to improve traffic flows and ease traffic congestion during peak tourism periods”, the report to the August meeting stated.

“Improving access to Yamba will enable growth in the visitor/tourism economy.

“Modelling indicates that by 2038 the traffic volumes on Yamba Road will have doubled at present growth and already some intersections are failing at peak tourism seasons.”

Mr Gulaptis told a dozen or so Yamba residents gathered at the corner of Treelands Drive and Yamba Road on Friday February 1 that “this is not an election promise”.

He said the $4.4 million grant would be used to build three roundabouts at the Treelands Drive, Carrs Drive and Shores Drive intersections along Yamba Road.

“We have just experienced a bumper tourist season in Yamba and our roads have been jammed to capacity, so this is terrific news,” Mr Gulaptis said in a media release.

“Traffic along Yamba Road can vary between10,000 to almost 17,000 vehicles per day during the holiday period and these roundabouts will help traffic flow more effectively and ease congestion, making it safer for locals and tourists.”

Mayor Jim Simmons said: “Tourism numbers are expected to continue to grow, as will residential development, so we need to ensure the road network can cope with the increased traffic it will be carrying.

“This funding will help council build the road infrastructure needed to reduce congestion in and out of town, and for many residents and visitors it can’t come too soon.

“With government assistance we will be able to get started without delay.”

Under questioning from residents, CVC’s Works and Civil director, Troy Anderson, said there would be “12 months of planning and design work” before construction would begin.

A resident asked if the recent release of Yamba Keys house lots and the associated strategically-planned Witonga Drive/Yamba Road roundabout would affect the proposed work to be funded by the grant, and how long it would be before it would be constructed.

The council’s general manager, Ashley Lindsay, said the developer was “deep in discussions” with CVC’s planning staff, but could not give a time estimate.

The council’s Works and Civil director Troy Anderson said there “are thresholds in the DA”, regarding when the Witonga Drive roundabout would be constructed.

He confirmed that the amount the developer will contribute would be based upon the additional traffic generated by the development, similar to the yet to be finalised design for the Treelands Drive roundabout, which attracted an eight per cent contribution from the developer.

Mr Lindsay said that some of the grant money would be used to construct a roundabout at the Yamba Street and Yamba Road intersection on Palmers Island.

Its construction “will be influenced by the proposed caravan park development” on River Road – councillors approved stage 1 in April 2017.

He said CVC took the “opportunity to incorporate the Palmers Island roundabout into the funding application”.

Regarding Yamba Keys, Clarence Property’s website states that “the Board is pleased to announce it has agreed [to] terms for the Trust to acquire the balance of the Yamba Quays residential development site, located at Witonga Drive, Yamba NSW”.

“…Marketing of the 42 Stage 1 lots has commenced.”