Referred to by some as the Holy Grail of unfinished road projects. The Dixon's Long Point crossing project has received an additional $4 million in the Australian Government's latest infrastructure package.
Part of the project includes the construction of a bridge over the Macquarie River at Dixons Long Point, and the upgrade and paving of the road on either side of the river. It aims to reduce the travel time between Orange and Mudgee.
"There is no turning back, it's all systems go."Member for Orange, Andrew Gee
This brings the total funding of the project to date to $20 million.
Mid-Western Regional Council is overseeing the tender and construction process, in conjunction with Cabonne Shire Council.
Read earlier coverage: $16 million announced for Dixons Long Point crossing
Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister and Member for Calare, Andrew Gee said he was delighted with the announcement and said more money will be asked for if it's needed.
"Work on the project was underway with engineers from Mid-Western Regional Council having already scoped possible locations for the crossing in preparation for the calling of tenders for stage one of the work next week," Mr Gee said.
"$2 million has been made available for stage one which is the design, bridge location and survey work. It includes a safety audit to identify priority sections, geotechnical work, environmental impact reports on flora and fauna and also an Indigenous participation plan and artefact study,"
Read earlier coverage: Dixons Long Point Road will need review before state funding
"We could have gone for a much cheaper culvert crossing but I want to see this done properly with a bridge. People have been trying to get this road and crossing built since the days of gold rush,"
"There is no turning back, it's all systems go."
Mid-Western Regional Council Mayor Des Kennedy welcomed the news of the additional funding.
Cabonne Shire Mayor Kevin Beatty, thanked the Australian Government for the $4 million in extra funding.
"This project is creating a vital connection between regional communities in the Central West and we are pleased the funds have been allocated and work is underway," Cr Beatty concluded.
Not everyone is convinced. In April, Cabonne council engineer Bob Wyllie said it would need more than $50 million to do the project properly.
"There are numerous engineering issues associated with construction of the link," he said in a Letter to the Editor.
"Firstly, the bridge across the Macquarie River will need to be of sufficient strength and height to resist the torrent of water and debris carried in floods past Long Point,"
"Secondly, the existing narrow road will have to be widened to two lanes in steep and rocky terrain, not a cheap engineering construction exercise. The grades produced will not be conducive to either caravans or heavy vehicles.
"To further complicate the issue, significant lengths of the existing road are on private property and not in the gazetted road reserve."