The long-awaited preferred option to improve traffic flow at the notorious Maitland Hospital roundabout on the New England Highway has been unveiled by Member for Maitland, Robyn Parker, paving the way for public comment on the proposal.
Almost everyone who has tried to negotiate their way through the five-leg hospital roundabout will have stories of accidents and near misses.
Clearly, something has to be done – and sooner rather than later.
This is especially the case with an increasing number of residents moving into new housing, such as McKeachie’s Run, and many more to come at Branxton, and also an increasing number of new businesses taking up space at Anambah.
There are, however, several questions that will need to be answered before the final decision on the preferred option is made.
Of paramount concern is whether this option – which involves retaining the existing roundabout with other modifications – is enough to solve the problems at this horror spot well into the future.
Most of the $45 million promised by Ms Parker to fix this and the railway station roundabouts will be spent on the flyover planned for the latter site.
In that sense, the hospital roundabout is the “poorer cousin” of the two.
Just how many cars will be diverted from the roundabout and onto the proposed east and westbound slip lanes is also uncertain.
Other unknowns that will affect the outcome include the location of the new hospital and the number of cars that will be taken off Maitland roads when the Hunter Expressway is open.
Feedback from the public is invited, with details available on the Roads and Maritime Services website and RMS staff on hand to answer questions at an information session at Monte Pio on March 13.
With the New England Highway the major through-road from residents and visitors alike, it is difficult to imagine any resident of Maitland who will not feel the impact of the final decision.
This is your city and your major road – make sure you have your say.