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Wanaaring Road bitumen forges ahead

Bourke Council plant operators at Poison Point Plain on Monday. Photo TWH

Work continues on the upgrade of the Bourke-Wanaaring Road with road crews from the Bourke Shire Council hard at work in slightly cooler conditions.

Recent bitumen sealing means that 80 kilometres of the Wanaaring Road now complete, and the work crews are now located on the last part of Poison Point Plain.

Tourism operators in Wanaaring and Bourke are confident the newly sealed road will open up opportunities to attract not just four wheel drive traffic but make the region more accessible for locals and tourists.

Owner of the Wanaaring Caravan and General Store Ben Strong said the sealed road would allow more access to tourists and reduce travel time for residents heading to Bourke.

“It’s already made a big difference,” he said.

“It’s taken some of us a bit of time getting used to it - I’m still hitting the brakes thinking I’m about to go on the gravel and it’s sealed and pretty good to drive on. Old habits die hard!”

Sealing the Wanaaring Road is one of the biggest roadworks investments in the history of the Bourke Shire.

The current work is funded with an $11 million grant from the State government through its Fixing Country Roads Program, with extra funding announced in April to continue the work.

Bourke Council Manager of Roads Mark Gordon said the road-building had been making steady progress with the first 12.7 kilometres completed late last year.

“We are now working on the second stage which is 11.5 kilometres long at Poison Point Plain. We have already completed 3.6 kilometres with the next 2 kilometres completed next week and then about one and a half kilometres left on that section.

“We received funding for another 20 kilometres which was announced during former local member Kevin Humphries’ last visit to Bourke and in total there is about 90 kilometres left to seal.

“The Wanaaring Road upgrade is employing more than 25 people at this stage, including contractors,” he said.

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