It’s been a political football for years, flick-passed to anyone standing nearby and left behind by anyone driving politics.

But now, if you can have any faith, there might just be some movement when it comes to a long overdue upgrade to the cow track that is the400 metres or so of New England Highway near the Longyard precinct in south Tamworth.

At least Tamworth Regional Council has taken the driver’s seat and is designing what it thinks could be done for that narrow ribbon of asphalt and gravel shoulders that traffic negotiates between the Calala Ln roundabout and Craigends Ln.

The fact it runs right in front of what has been the roads authority’s Tamworth depot for more than a generation is not lost on anyone of driving age.

It’s been a traffic snarl and a driver’s nightmare for years, but finally the bottleneck that is one of the worst bits of the New England Highway in Tamworth could be headed towards an upgrade.

Funding, of course, is always, the speed bump in what should have been a done deal years ago.

Tamworth Regional Council has revealed it is undertaking a new design investigation at its own expense, in a move which could pave some improvements for traffic flow.

It is the latest move in what has been a serial point of discussion and debate for years, when the council has its regular meetings with local roads authority executives. For all those years, nothing came of it. It was ignored.

Now, the council is drawing up a design that would widen the highway to two-lanes each way.

That is their best-case scenario option, although they might be persuaded with a lesser design – of passing or turning lanes perhaps – if the RMS and government would stump up some money to start with.

Neighbours and long-time lobbyists describe the roadway as a walk of shame for governments – and successive ones at that.

Various traffic counts over the years suggest there are some 30,000 vehicles along that stretch of roadway every day.

It is one of our high-profile city entryways – and it’s not just shameful, but an indictment of political process for a regional centre.

TRC believes if it has the design decided, then when funding becomes available they can get a head start.

It is news many motorists and residents have been waiting on for nearly 30 years.

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