We need to separate road and rail and let traffic flow through Forbes: that's the message that Forbes Shire Council is sending to State and Federal politicians as the Inland Rail Project progresses.
Councillors have resolved to write to relevant ministers advocating for grade separation of the Newell Highway and Inland Rail in Forbes.
"The development of the Inland Rail has raised the issue of two impediments to the smooth flow of traffic through the Forbes township, on the Newell Highway," a report to the council's May meeting explained.
"One being the traffic lights at the intersection of Lachlan Street and Sherriff Street and the other being the railway crossing on Parkes Road.
"These two impediments are 190 metres apart and can cause significant delays to heavy traffic flowing through Forbes.
"When the Inland Rail is fully operational, the delays at the railway crossing will increase significantly."
In 2020, Council's Director Engineering applied to the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications to consider the development of a business case for the grade separation of the interface of the Newell Highway and the Inland Rail, in Forbes, through the Inland Rail 'Productivity Enhancement Program' (PEP).
"The application was not successful, but TfNSW have verbally advised that this project is on a list of grade separation projects being considered on the Newell Highway," the director reported back to councillors.
The diagrams in the council business paper show a possible alignment that could accommodate the Grade Separated Road/Rail Interface of the Newell Highway and Inland Rail.
With the inclusion of a grade separated interface, in Forbes, heavy vehicles would be able to pass through the township without having to stop at either the traffic lights or the current railway crossing.
It's not the first time this has come up: the director of engineering points out a grade-separated rail overpass of the Newell Highway and the railway line in Forbes was considered in the 1980s and subsequently included in the Local Environmental Plan, 1986.