Slow-moving bypass plans for the historic New England Highway town of Tenterfield have gathered momentum again after a truck fire on the main street over the weekend.
Police are investigating but it is believed the early morning fire started when the B-double’s wheel bearings locked up, causing the tyres to ignite.
The town’s community Facebook site said the truck driver managed to unhook his prime mover and move it clear of the blaze before police and fire crews arrived.
“Quick thinking from the driver when he drove the main front part of the truck 100m ahead as the back carriage burst into flames,” said a witness on the site.
“That’s one big close call for Tenterfield and maybe one step closer to making this bypass come in quicker to get these huge trucks out of town.
“That’s one lucky night for our historic CBD and thankfully no one was injured just a few cold people caught out side in their pjs!! Great job.”
In July 2017, the federal government committed $10 million over three years to continue planning for the project to be shovel-ready, though its construction has not yet been costed nor funded, reports ABC News.
Mayor Peter Petty said the latest funding allocation had been used to finalise the design of three bridges and pay for the acquisition of land from 24 landholders.
He said the council had never wavered from its push for a bypass and construction could not begin soon enough.
“You don’t just build a bypass and then say: ‘What are we going to do now?’
“We’ve planned for this for a long time, and our main street and CBD are in a good position to handle a bypass.”
The April 23 incident incited plenty of interest in the proposed bypass on the community Facebook page.
“Hopefully this will help encourage the need for the bypass,” writes Michael Grass.
“I feel for the truckies that have to go through town and negotiate the pedestrians using the crossings. I always wait for the truck to pass before I cross, but plenty of people just step out.”
Added Bronnie Woods: “Bypass needs to happen, glad the truckie is ok and emerging services responded and those beautiful old buildings saved …. tourists will still go to historic Tentafield if it is well signed on the bypass ..”
Truckie advocate Roz Nanna Turner, however, isn’t convinced the town needs one.