Near misses between trucks and cars on the Yarara Gap are a thing of the past following the completion of one of the biggest road projects in Greater Hume Shire in recent times.
The $3.5 million reconstruction of a notorious 2.3-kilometre section of the Jingellic Road was officially opened on Tuesday.
Jingellic Road is a major link road between the Hume Highway and the Upper Murray areas with travel times reduced by up to 10 minutes.
But Greater Hume mayor Heather Wilton spoke with personal experience about how dangerous the Yarara Gap stretch was before the upgrade.
“It was a very narrow, winding, steep gradient with nowhere to pull off if you got into trouble,” she told The Border Mail.
“It was being used by log trucks, B-doubles, stock transports and if you were caught on the wrong side of one of them it was a very scary event.
“You can actually drive on the road in top gear now.
“Previously you were lucky to get up in second gear.”
B-double transports will be the biggest beneficiaries of the upgrade.
The council estimates 30 new jobs and 100 indirect jobs will be created as a result of the better road over the Yarara Gap.
Sawn logs from the softwood forests of the Upper Murray to the Ettamogah rail hub and Norske Skog paper mill can be carted by B-doubles instead of semi-trailers and livestock trucks previously avoided the road due to safety concerns when travelling between Holbrook and Corryong.
Freight carriers will also have a viable alternative if Tumbarumba Road is shut to bushfires as happened in 2014.
Greater Hume worked with Tumbarumba Shire in building the case for $1.75 million in federal funding and another $750,000 from the NSW government.
Cr Wilton praised the efforts of contractors to keep the road open during the 30-week reconstruction.
“Community engagement efforts prior to the letting of the tender and during the project meant that affected residents were kept informed throughout by council,” she said.
“The fact that the roadway remained open during the project met with high community approval.”
Albury MLA Greg Aplin attended the official opening along with representatives of contractor RECivil, project manager GHD and residents.