A proposed Werris Creek Intermodal Road Access Project would be critical in driving the Liverpool Plains economy forward, according to Mayor of Liverpool Plains Shire Council, Cr. Andrew Hope. “Improving efficiency and safety for heavy vehicles heading to and from the new Crawfords Freightlines intermodal rail facility would be a real win.
“This is a road project that will drive job growth in an economy that is struggling with the worst drought ever. The Crawfords Freightlines intermodal rail facility created 25 new jobs and their workforce at Werris Creek could ultimately grow to 80, yet Council aims to see that be the catalyst for more industrial investment and jobs,” he said.
The Council teamed up with RDANI to demonstrate the need for close to $10mil in funding from the NSW State Government and both organisations are highly optimistic that the value in the investment is clear. The project would involve major upgrades to South Street, which connects with the New England Highway.
Our business case for the Werris Creek Intermodal Road Access Project has made significantly reduced travel times and improved safety plain to see. Average travel savings that would result from the road project for all trucks would be 42kms or 31 minutes of drive-time in a round-trip. The largest time saving projection is for the 4,200 truck movements per year for refrigerated meat coming from Tamworth, involving an average saving of 103km or 77 minutes.
This intermodal road project makes the rail depot an increasingly appealing option for road freight. Previously, freight has gone all the way to Sandgate in Newcastle by road, while the cost of taking freight by rail from Werris Creek is close to half that of the road option. This means big bottom-line savings for the region’s producers and businesses, heavy vehicle movements reduced on the New England Highway and a huge carbon footprint reduction. Research into existing access to the intermodal identified room for travel time and safety improvements and the proposed project would deliver on risk reductions.
Mayor Hope said that economic benefits of increasing efficiencies for freight trucks accessing the Werris Creek Intermodal would extend across many industries and a large area, which includes one of the country’s most significant food bowls. “Optimising road infrastructure for the Crawfords Freightlines intermodal rail facility and other local industries is common sense for the economy, locally and on a State level.”
“The Crawfords Freightlines intermodal rail facility is a highly professional operation and the flow-on benefits for Werris Creek and surrounds has been immediate. We have seen accommodation options get booked out 18 months in advance. This project is really about improving public road transport infrastructure to value add to an economically stimulating freight hub, stemming from private sector investment,” he said.
Liverpool Plains Shire Council is developing a 100 acre industrial precinct adjacent to the Crawfords Freightlines intermodal rail facility. “We are working hard to facilitate economic development. The Werris Creek Intermodal Road Access Project will support our new industrial precinct, as well as the important intermodal rail freight facility. Business investment in the industrial precinct will be an attractive prospect because of the intermodal activities, so this road project will help to pave the way for more jobs in our economy,” said Mayor Hope. “The tracks have been laid for economic growth and we look forward to seeing the NSW State Government get on board.”
The RDANI Committee meets quarterly and members recently followed a meeting in Werris Creek with a tour of the Crawfords Freightlines intermodal rail facility. “This has clearly been an economic shot in the arm for the Liverpool Plains economy and at a time of real need,” RDANI Chair Russell Stewart said. “Liverpool Plains Shire Council has commendably welcomed the Crawfords Freightlines intermodal rail facility with open arms and deserve State Government assistance in building on the economic development from that private sector investment.”
Liverpool Plains Shire Council has proposed that construction begin in January 2021 and be completed by June 2022. The project could pave the way for a heavy vehicle bypass of Werris Creek in the future.