The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has been asked to rethink its proposal to create massive inconvenience and disruption to Cootamundra on the weekend of Wattle Time and the Swap Meet.
Cootamundra-Gundagai mayor Abb McAlister said he had communicated with the ARTC by email to ask it to reconsider its proposal to create a 35-minute detour for all traffic coming into Coota from both Wallendbeen and Bethungra on the Olympic Way.
Councillor McAlister said the ARTC's proposed detour would require traffic to detour via Stockinbingal, but there was a much shorter detour available which would take only minutes.
"The shorter detour would involve traffic from the north leaving the Olympic Highway at Rinkin Street, near the Saleyards, and travelling via Pinkerton and Berthong Streets and Muttuma Roads to cross the main railway line to Hovell Street, just south of the railway station," Cr McAlister said.
"It may make sense for heavy vehicles to detour along the main roads via Stockinbingal, but the ARTC needs to realise that Cootamundra has two very special events on that weekend - the Wattle Time Parade and Fair on Saturday, and the Swap Meet on Sunday.
"Both these events will attract many hundreds of visitors to the town, especially the swap meet which is a very big deal in terms of attracting people from the wider region.
"At this stage it would be a sensible compromise and probably be safer for light vehicles, such as family sedans and utes, to be directed to make the short detour via the back streets going past the Showground, rather than to have to add 35 minutes to their travel time."
Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council issued a media release yesterday advising of the ARTC's intentions.
It said the ARTC would be issuing newspaper advertisements informing the community it would be "carrying out upgrade works at the Yass Road Level Crossing in the Cootamundra area, from 31 August 2019 to 2 September 2019".
Further, the ARTC would advertise that it would be "working hard to minimize any disruptions the work may cause and appreciates your patience during this period".
The scheduled upgrade works would occur between 4am on 31 August 2019 to 4am on 2 September 2018 (sic).
The proposed statement would say:
"Yass Road will be closed between Hovell Street, Cootamundra and Rinkin Street, Cootamundra for the duration of these works. There will be traffic management and detours in place. Only local traffic will be allowed inside this closure area.
"A detour for southbound traffic will be in place via Burley Griffin Way, Stockinbingal Road and return back to Olympic Highway. A detour for northbound traffic will be in place via Temora Street (Stockinbingal Road), Burley Griffin Way and return back to Olympic Highway.
"Detour routes will be signposted. The detour routes are expected to add an additional Thirty-Five (35) minutes travel time.
"The work we are undertaking to improve this section of track is an important part of our major program to upgrade the line between Melbourne and Sydney.
"If you have any queries during the planned works in your area please contact ARTC's Enviroline on 1300 550 402 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For updated information please visit ARTC website: artc.com.au/events."