Maitland’s new highway overpass has saved some morning commuters up to 15 minutes on day one.
Roads and Maritime Services opened the $45 million New England Highway flyover with little fanfare in the early hours of Thursday, in time for the morning peak hour rush.
Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald said the opening of the overpass was a “significant step” in the state government’s major highway upgrades in Maitland.
“We expect the new overpass to increase traffic capacity through the busy intersection, improve safety and traffic flow and provide more reliable travel times for all road users,” he said.
While some people have criticised the impact of the eastbound flyover, some motorists reported that the infrastructure cut their morning journey by about a quarter of an hour.
“It cut 15 minutes of my drive to work this morning,” Ben Mitchell wrote on Facebook.
“I didn't have to sit in a line at the roundabout waiting for a gap as usual.”
Another commuter, Ali Davies-roe took to Facebook to express her satisfaction: “I travel to East Maitland every day for work and it took me 10 minutes instead of 30 minutes”.
But some people raised concerns about safety issues brought on by vehicles exiting the overpass and merging back onto the highway, on the eastern side of the Church Street roundabout.
“The right lane merge after the bridge is going to cause dramas,” Tim Clarke wrote.
Kathleen Steele posted: “Merging will cause some havoc, I feel, as drivers are not patient or courteous.
“I feel it's not very well designed. Better planning next time.”
Others called for a westbound flyover to be built.
RMS will turn its attention to the intersection of the highway and Church Street this week.
Road work has been scheduled for eastbound highway lanes between 7pm and 5am, weeknights, until some time in October.
Motorists should keep a look out for changed speed limits and detours during this time.
Visit rms.nsw.gov.au for more information.