Maitland MP Robyn Parker says an inner city bypass is not a priority for the O’Farrell government despite a warning that motorists will be stuck in worsening traffic snarls unless action is immediately taken.
Cr Henry Meskauskas moved a motion at the April 10 council meeting requesting that a letter be sent to Mrs Parker and Hunter MP Joel Fitzgibbon for the bypass to be built as a matter of urgency.
Mrs Parker forwarded the letter to Transport Minister Duncan Gay – but she has not spoken to Mr Gay in person on the issue, nor had she received any written feedback from him.
“My priority is to deliver the
Hunter Expressway and roundabout
improvements,” Mrs Parker said.
“They are my priorities and the state government’s priorities.”
Cr Meskauskas’ motion called for a bypass from Thornton to Rutherford or Lochinvar, in the belief Roads and Maritime Services had previously bought land for this purpose.
He has now accused the government of ignoring Maitland residents.
“We should have had a reply back in a week [stating] ‘we’re going to spend this much’ or ‘we’re going to investigate it’,” Cr Meskauskas said.
“They’re hoping we’ll go away.”
But Mrs Parker told the Mercury: “I have made representations to the minister and I have no doubt he will respond in due course. I can’t demand when a minister is going to respond to me.”
Ms Parker said the ball was in council’s court to make the inner city bypass a reality.
“I will wait and see what the minister has to say about the bypass proposal,” she said.
“I wouldn’t want to pre-empt what the minister will say and I would add that it is also up to the council to prioritise what it wants.
The government was not putting all its eggs in one basket with the Hunter Expressway, she said.
“The reason the O’Farrell government has committed the $45 million to the roundabouts is because we felt the Hunter Expressway would not be a total fix,” she said.