After years of inaction by successive state governments, Maitland MP Robyn Parker delivered on a key election pledge yesterday by announcing the O’Farrell government’s answer to traffic congestion at the Church Street roundabout.
The proposed plan involves building an overpass 400 metres from the east and west ends of the roundabout, an ambitious and costly exercise but one that is vital if Maitland is to keep abreast of its current growth, let alone make provision for the future.
Mrs Parker is correct when she says the Maitland community will be delighted to see what progress has been made.
A number of issues, however, need to be considered before this proposal is given the green light.
Any new road built in the vicinity of the roundabout must be sufficiently high to ensure that during floods people are not cut off as they have been in previous flood events.
The interests of residents and businesses in key streets, such as Walker Street, also must not be overlooked.
And the $35 million question is whether one, one-way road enough?
A total of $45 million was promised to fix this and the hospital roundabouts. With an estimated price tag of $35 million this leaves very little loose change left for work in the vicinity of the hospital.
Such projects do not come cheap and to a large extent this is the price we must pay for development.
With more people pouring into areas such as Gillieston Heights it is clear that the current road network is under enormous pressure that even the Hunter Expressway will not alleviate.
Something must be done to fix these roundabouts. Some motorists have lost their lives trying to negotiate them while others play Russian roulette on them every day.
Mrs Parker has made a significant start. It is now imperative that Maitland residents attend the public meeting on August 30 to discuss this option.