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ARC delivers single largest road project undertaken by a NSW Council

It is an unprecedented time to be part of Armidale Regional Council (ARC) as it delivers the single largest road project ever undertaken by a NSW council.

The $408 million reconstruction of the Kempsey Road back to pre-disaster conditions is jointly funded by the Australian and NSW Government and marks a significant turning point in the transformation of ARC.

It’s safe to say that the ARC of three or four years ago would have been a long shot to even consider, let alone be considered, to take on such an ambitious civil construction project. The heavy lifting undertaken by all staff during the last two years and driven by a new Executive Leadership Team to restore the organisation to a high performing, values based, team culture that encourages diversity has meant that the building blocks are now there to achieve success.

The transformation has been led by a general manager that values all staff and their contribution to ARC and a new council that has set an ambitious jobs and growth strategy and understands the importance of its people.

“The Kempsey Road reconstruction project has benefited from the solid work that has been undertaken to change the fortunes of the organisation and transform it to a culture and a workplace that people now want to work in,” said General Manager James Roncon.

“If we hadn’t put culture and people first we wouldn’t be attracting the high calibre staff to this project and ARC more broadly. Transport for NSW and the Commonwealth can be confident in their decision to award ARC the funds to get this project completed.”

The reconstruction of the Kempsey Road will restore 43 km of the Kempsey to Armidale Road and 5.1km of Lower Creek Road to pre-disaster conditions. 

In addition to the restoration work the NSW Government has approved three improvement projects to be carried out at the same time and to build back better in order to improve the road’s resilience in case of future natural disasters. These projects are funded through the Fixing Local Roads and Fixing Country Roads programs to improve sections of the road at Blackbird Flat, Flying Fox and Big Hill. 

“This is a complex project across difficult and steep terrain,” said Mr Roncon.

“It’s a road we inherited and we are pretty keen to give it back to the NSW Government. ARC is now building the right staffing and resource base and is well and truly up to the challenge and will pass the baton to the NSW Government once we’ve successfully delivered the project.”

The road was severely damaged by bushfires at the end of 2019 and subsequent flooding in 2020 and 2022 meant the road was impassable and had sustained substantial damage.  

The road is an important corridor and traverses steep and challenging terrain, which links Armidale and the coast. The road also supports agriculture and tourism industries in both the Armidale and Kempsey regions. 


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