Traffic issues with Howlong proposal

By Corowa Free Press

A State Government required decision for a development application to expand operations for Howlong sand and gravel from 30,000 tonnes per annum to 330,000 tonnes per annum is to be further considered by Federation Council beforehand. 

Council discussed the application by The Trustee for Fraser Earthmoving Construction at 4343 Riverina Highway Howlong at its monthly meeting on May 19.

Unanimous agreement was reached with councillors empowering their director development and environmental services Susan Appleyard to report back to council, with a recommendation which would, if agreed by councillors, be onforwarded to the State Government for determination. 

Before council’s resolution, Ms Appleyard advised that following the exhibition period of the proposed development, several issues were raised by the local community including air quality, noise and vibration, terrestrial and aquatic ecology, surface and ground water and visual amenity. 

But it was the traffic concern expressed by Federation’s councilors. This aspect in particular will be at the forefront of Ms Appleyard’s report for further council consideration. 

At council’s meeting, Deputy Mayor Shaun Whitechurch said he is aware of a lot of comments both for and against the proposed development.

“I’m all in favour of bringing more business and more employment to town but we’ve got to ensure the township of Howlong is not going to be affected detrimentally by it,” he said. 

Howlong-based councillor David Longley said he is not against the development as such but is very concerned with the consequential effect on traffic through Howlong.

He said a problem already exists with traffic congestion and many near misses regarding accidents in the main street have been witnessed by himself and other residents, particularly when motorists reverse after having to forward park; being confronted with 60-tonne average weight trucks.   

“I’m concerned another increase of 80 trucks a day could be detrimental to our businesses,” Cr Longley said. “It would be great if we could find another way around Howlong.”

Cr Paul Miegel said council needs additional information. “Everyone likes to see progress in our region, however it needs to be sustainable and not damage the environment, especially where the development is to be located, and the impact it will have on the township of Howlong,” he said.

“Hopefully we can bring forward the strategic planning statement to identify projects over the next 20 years and a bypass would be pretty advantageous to Howlong.”

Unanimously endorsed by council at its latest monthly meeting on May 19, Federation Council’s draft strategic planning statement is on pubic exhibition until June 17.

It includes priority primary, secondary and tertiary planning priorities over a four-year period. 

Planning Priority 24 relates to investigating an alternative Heavy Vehicle Route for Howlong, stating: “Howlong has a compact central business district with highway frontage. The highway to the east of Howlong has heavy vehicle restrictions which does not allow any vehicle larger than b -doubles to gain access to the Hume Free Way into Victoria. 

“To ensure the safety, amenity and character of the Centre and residential areas of Howlong are retained as businesses west of Albury Grow an alternative vehicle route through Howlong is required.”

Action required states: “Commence discussions with Transport for NSW regarding the establishment of an alternate heavy vehicle route through Howlong. Undertake a study for suitable alternative heavy vehicle routes. Time Frame: Within 4 years.”

Prepared in accordance with NSW State Government guidelines, the plan will guide strategic land use planning throughout all of the Federation Council area and link to the Federation Community Strategic Plan.