Maitland’s traffic woes are all too often the subject of reports, letters and comment in this newspaper.
Today’s edition is no exception. A three-kilometre diesel spill delayed traffic traffic on the New England Highway through Rutherford on Thursday, with the section between the already notorious Maitland Hospital roundabout and Alexandra Avenue the worst affected.
Add to that wet roads, people trying to exit the city for the long weekend and the usual peak-hour congestion caused by people going about their daily business and you’ve got a recipe for trouble.
In reality, it takes very little to turn major roads in Maitland into car parks.
While a fix for this issue is high on the agenda of Maitland City Council together with various government departments and members of parliament, what is needed in the short-term is some good, old-fashioned commonsense.
Enter Maitland Business Chamber infrastructure committee chairman Hilton Grugeon who believes slow-
moving wide loads are costing businesses time and money.
He wants to see escorted loads banned during daylight hours. This is not a matter of being anti-big business or anti-mining. Far from it.
It’s a matter of giving other businesses and residents a fair go on the city’s congested roads.
As he quite rightly points out, escorted loads are making it difficult to move around the city for both business and residents.
The 2007 June long weekend flood, which closed the New England Highway, exposed the vulnerability of Maitland’s road system, as did the collapse of the Devonshire Street footbridge in 2009.
There have also been concerns expressed about Maitland residents having “no way out” of the city should a major accident close the highway.
Everything that can possibly be done to cut down the congestion and keep the traffic moving freely should be implemented immediately.
Roads and Maritime Services needs to listen to Mr Grugeon.