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THE views of grain handlers and growers are being sought to help in planning the future conditions of the Inland Rail for Moree Plains.
The Shire-wide Transport and Intermodal Study is in the detailed consultation phase and Moree Plains Shire Council has engaged the CSIRO to undertake significant work on developing a transport model, TraNSIT, to illustrate the Shire’s roads in detail.
Over the next two weeks, the focus will be on data gathering to assist with transport model calibration, so it accurately reflects Moree Plains’ current transport situation.
Council’s Director of Planning and Community Development Angus Witherby explained that well-known local Rebecca Reardon is working with Council to help the project team collate information and assisting the study team gain access to local input and industry expertise about the future possibilities.
“It is great to have Bec Reardon on-board to help facilitate this part of the project, as it is a tremendous opportunity to better understand the needs of growers and grain handlers, and ensure that Council is making provision for the best range of possible opportunities that are ahead of us”.
“I encourage those who are approached for information to assist openly as it will enable quality research and data to be collected. We understand business and operator privacy and all information will be held in the strictest commercial confidence,” Mr Witherby said.
The CSIRO model will form the heart of the transport project, allowing the project team to test impacts of network changes and improvements. It will also be the basis for analysis of the impacts and benefits of an expansion of intermodal facilities. Future scenarios will be tested, to plan for future conditions when the Inland Rail is fully operational.
The study team will be working closely with local growers, Council’s Road Network Consultative Group and with the Moree Intermodal Transport Taskforce in developing future scenarios around Inland Rail.
Consultants WSP have been appointed as lead consultant to undertake the road technical studies, including route selection for a connector from the Gwydir to Newell Highways, enhancing road freight access to the existing grain handlers and reviewing improvements to the Carnarvon Highway.
They will also look at preferred options for expansion and development of intermodal facilities including a wide range of complementary options.
These include warehousing and distribution, fuel farms, value adding industries and, potentially, rolling stock servicing.
WSP will be working with specialist firms in the development of business cases and costing of the projects.
The Transport and Intermodal Study is being funded by the Federal Government’s Murray Darling Basin compensation fund, with the money being auspiced by the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet. Council is also contributing both cash and in-kind professional support.
The Study is on a very tight timeframe, with the technical studies due for completion by the end of May this year.
This article first appeared on www.moreechampion.com.au
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