For years, regular commuters between Canberra and Queanbeyan, and the rural village of Captains Flat, have chipped their teeth and hurt their backs driving along Captains Flat Road.
The 37-kilometre stretch of narrow and winding road is crumbling, riddled with potholes and prone to flooding in parts. Cars also have to compete with the regular school bus services and enormous logging trucks.
But at long last, relief is in sight.
Months of work in planning, designing and sourcing of funding will pay off this year with work beginning on major upgrades to both Captains Flat Road and Tarago Road in the Queanbeyan-Palerang Shire.
The $10 million upgrade of Captains Flat Road, between Briars Sharrow Road and Captains Flat village, will see 21 km of the road stabilised, resurfaced, and completely realigned and rebuilt in some parts.
Preparation work kicks off with drainage and shoulder widening this week (weather permitting) before the major road rehabilitation commences in March.
Funding for this project was initially spread across four years, with the project to be completed in 2023-24, but the final year of funding has been brought forward and the major upgrade is now tipped to be completed by 2023.
Tarago Road has also suffered from increasing heavy vehicle traffic through the area. QPRC has completed design work to upgrade the road from Mt Fairy Road and go as far north as the funding allows. Works are set to commence in February and are expected to be completed by early 2023.
The last two years, beginning with fires, moving through several flood incidents, and culminating with a sopping wet 2021, have wreaked havoc on roads all across southeast NSW.
QPRC says they will continue working through the more than $47 million worth of works and repairs currently on the books caused by those natural disasters.
The state of regional roads was also a hot topic in the lead up to the QPRC election on 4 December 2021, with all the candidates promising to address the crumbling surfaces.
“Why do cars have to be roadworthy when the roads are not car-worthy?” was a clarion call from the community.
Funding for the welcome repairs comes from the NSW Government under the ‘Fixing Country Roads’ program, with $1 million allocated this financial year, $4,085,000 in 2021/22, and $4,915,000 in 2022/23.
QPRC oversees around 1700 kilometres of road throughout the local government area, of which 752 km is unsealed and the remaining 915 km is sealed in various formats.
They hold an ongoing contract with the NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) to provide road maintenance and construction services on the State road network within the local government area and part of the Goulburn-Mulwaree local government area.
Elsewhere in the Queanbeyan-Palerang shire, Environa Drive in South Jerrabomberra is now open to traffic.
Environa Drive forms the fourth arm of the intersection on Tompsitt Drive, Jerrabomberra. It unlocks the Poplars Innovation Precinct, Queanbeyan Regional Sports Complex, Jerrabomberra High School and the South Jerra residential estate.
There are still some finishing touches to be added, so for the time being, construction zone speed limits of 60 and 40 km/h still apply. Drivers are also asked to keep an eye out for stray wildlife.