Environmental, heritage and social considerations for a major rural road upgrade
Hill End Road Upgrade: Dual projects, each involving Ecological Investigation, Aboriginal Due Diligence and Historic Heritage Assessment and Review of Environmental Factors
In 2020 and 2021, TEF was engaged by Mid-Western Regional Council to complete assessments for two projects forming part of the planned major upgrade of Hill End Road in the localities of Windeyer, Ullamalla and Tambaroora, NSW. This work involved completing investigations into the potential environmental, heritage and social impacts of proposed safety upgrades to a 43 km stretch of Hill End Road, as well as within four identified ‘high-risk curve’ sections near Tambaroora.
To inform these assessments, TEF undertook a comprehensive review of relevant legislation and databases. This included detailed mapping of soil types, catchment areas, waterways, key fish habitat, groundwater vulnerability, groundwater dependent ecosystems and records of threatened species within proximity to the proposal areas.
Following desktop review and analysis, the TEF team conducted multiple visits to the study areas undertaking flora surveys, vegetation mapping, assessment of threatened species habitat and opportunistic diurnal fauna observations. Nocturnal survey work included spotlighting and call playback for threatened fauna, deployment of Anabat bat detectors and multiple nights of targeted frog surveys within waterways in the study areas.
TEF also partnered with archaeological and cultural heritage experts at Apex Archaeology to complete a comprehensive Aboriginal Due Diligence and Historic Heritage Assessment to ensure that no significant sites or artifacts would be disturbed during the proposed road upgrades.
For each of the projects Ecological Assessment, Aboriginal Due Diligence, Historic Heritage Assessment and Review of Environmental Factors provided Mid-Western Regional Council with a full appraisal of potential environmental, heritage and social impacts associated with the proposed road upgrades.
Overall, both road upgrade projects were subsequently approved.
Prior to commencement of the proposed works, TEF returned to site to complete pre-clearing inspections of any vegetation requiring removal to allow for the required road safety upgrades. These surveys aimed to minimise impacts to fauna during the road upgrade process, providing a further level of environmental protection while necessary road safety upgrades were completed.
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