TOP SPOT: It’s been an accident waiting to happen, but the hilltop will be shaved off to flatten the crest on Forest Rd next week. ONE of the busiest roads linking the Forest Hills and Hills Plain residential areas with inner Tamworth will be closed for nearly a week – partly so that two metres of dirt can be lopped off a hilly crest and make the roadway safer for motorists.

Tamworth Regional Council will close part of Forest Rd so it can do the final stage of a $2.58 million road upgrade project, this time in the stretch between the Tamworth landfill site and the roundabout at Browns Ln at Forest Hills.

The council said the full road closure decision was made on the basis of safety and cost savings against keeping one lane open while the works were undertaken.

But the gravity of the works – including cutting two metres off the top of the hill where Forest Rd reaches its highest point, and upgrading the length of the roadway – decided TRC engineers to go for the full closure.

TRC director for regional services Peter Resch said keeping part of the road open for such major works would have compromised the safety of workers and motorists, and extended the time it would take to complete the road, adding to the budgeted cost.

He said the saving in monetary terms was well over $100,000 – a saving for ratepayers that could be used elsewhere.

The council has letter dropped over 400 homes in the rural residential subdivision to alert them to the fact the road will be closed to traffic from early next Monday morning for six days until Sunday and will then reopen with one lane of traffic for about another four weeks.

“Forest Rd is a busy road with between 1500 and up to 2750 vehicles using it on any one day, so we know residents will see the impact but we’re asking them to be patient, take a different route so we can finish this road more quickly,” Mr Resch said.

“They’re going to get a you-beaut road and that to me is the issue, it’s a no-brainer. I don’t think the alternate route will be too bad – if they use Johnston St or Piper St.”

“I’d encourage them to use Johnston and Piper from Moore Creek Rd and avoid the Tribe St intersection.”

Mr Resch said the project included reducing the height of the crest and a realignment of the road approaching it to improve the line-of-sight for motorists.

It was the next step in an overall upgrade of Forest Rd, including a $280,000 reconstruction of a 600m section from Monteray St near the MET school to near Reeves Creek Bridge over Spring Creek just below the landfill.

The first stage included the new $1.3 million Reeves Creek bridge and the widening of the road there.

Mr Resch said the priority had been to fix the bridge and widen a once-narrow road, particularly when lots of trucks used the landfill and the road. The works to flatten out the top of the hill – using a scraper and big machinery – get under way Monday.

The project engineer for the job has estimated the material being moved from the two-metre “shaving” equates to digging out a football field, 68 metres by 100 metres to a depth of four metres – creating a pile of 2400 cubic metres of dirt.

Mr Resch said the fill would be used to reinforce the shoulders and batters of the road and the neighbouring mountain bike club had asked for some leftovers to be used on their tracks.

Tamworth mayor Col Murray has added his voice to the project, pleading for patience over the disruption.

In the end, the Hills residents were getting a better, safer road, he said, and that was worth a lot more than a few minutes extra travel for a few days.

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