Construction of the Ellerton Drive extension is expected to commence in the coming weeks as it was announced on Friday that a tender had been awarded.
Deputy Premier John Barilaro and administrator Tim Overall announced in Queanbeyan that the Roads and Maritime Services had signed a contract with WBHO Infrastructure to complete the project.
Mr Barilaro said it was a positive step to action plans that had been considered for decades and would help Queanbeyan grow.
“It is the road for the future of this city,” he said.
“It’s the ring road for Queanbeyan. It’s to meet the needs of a growing city where we know traffic congestion will get to a point of issue in the years ahead.”
The 4.6 kilometre road will connect Queanbeyan East with Karabar at the intersection of Edwin Land Parkway and Old Cooma Road. The federal government and NSW state government have each committed $25 million with the Queanbeyan-Palerang council making up the remaining $36 million.
The EDE has been a contentious issue in the community for many years. In the lead up to the council election the Greens ran a particularly vocal campaign against the project.
They criticised the fact final progress of the road was conducted in the administration period rather than by an elected council. Mr Barilaro said there was nothing out of the ordinary about the project which had gone through all the necessary checks.
“The truth is this is business as usual,” he said.
“The authority was given to RMS quite early in the piece. The RMS has the full authority to sign off on a road project that was supported by the former Queanbeyan City Council.
“The administrator has had a role to play but the truth of it is the former council had made a number of decisions to get this road constructed.”
Newly elected Greens councillor Peter Marshall said that no attempt was made to include the new candidates in this announcement.
“To do this before the first council meeting is disrespectful to the elected council,” Mr Marshall said.
“It’s certainly not a good start.”
Opponents of the road have made accusations that it is simply a way to open up the area for a potential estate at Jumping Creek and have suggested the region would be better served by the proposed Dunns Creek Road.
Mr Barilaro said the government had undertaken “scoping work” to begin Dunns Creek Road and vehemently denied any accusations.
“They are malicious and deliberate accusations,” he said.
“They will feel the full weight of the legal fraternity if they try and somehow muddy my name or any other name associated with this.”
Mr Overall welcomed the announcement and suggested the election results at the Jerrabomberra booth, where the EDE was a significant issue, were telling as anti-EDE tickets collected roughly 30 per cent of the vote.
“One of the consultants [on the EDE] concluded that in all his years of experience he had never seen a project of this size been so reviewed and subject to so many reports,” he said.
“It’s now got the green light, the contract has been awarded and it’s a good result for the whole community.”
It is understood opponents to the project could launch legal action in an attempt to stop construction going ahead.
WBHO Infrastructure are the Australian arm of a global South African based company. They have completed upgrades to the Princes and Bruce Highways with major projects worldwide.
Mr Barilaro suggested there would be opportunities for local companies to partner with WBHO.