WHEN you’re a commuter, the opportunity to shave 20 minutes off your daily travel time is a big deal.
Think of all the things you could do with 20 minutes. Wash and dry the dishes. Help your child with their homework. Take the dog for a walk. Have a shower, or a glass of wine.
When you multiply that saving out across a working week, you’re dealing in the magnitude of more than an hour previously spent stuck in a mostly stationary metal object surrounded by other humans in various states of frustration.
It’s little wonder that commuter Ali Davies-roe took to the Mercury’s Facebook page Thursday morning to sing the praises of the newly opened New England Highway flyover at Maitland.
“I travel to East Maitland every day for work and it took me 10 minutes instead of 30 minutes,” Davies-roe wrote.
Davis-roe’s comments were largely echoed by other commenters following the morning commute.
Others warned that the evening rush could bring an entirely familiar and frustrating experience.
Ron Ferguson predicted that the one way flyover would take pressure off the roundabout as fewer people would be using it.
Others were adamant the problem would not be fixed until a mirror flyover was created on the Maitland Park side of the roundabout.
At the time of writing this article, the verdict was unknown.
The $45 million flyover was criticised in some quarters during the planning and building phases.
There was talk that the project was useless unless the roads leading to and from the flyover were raised above flood height.
Others believed the money would have been better spent addressing Cessnock Road at Testers Hollow as that part of the city is experiencing exponential growth and increased traffic as a result of the Hunter Expressway.
Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald called the flyover opening a ‘significant step’ in the state government’s major highway upgrades in Maitland.
Yes, there is much to do on Maitland roads.
But for now, a 20-minute saving on a daily commute is a blessing to many people.
We must continue to lobby for better roads to serve our growing community.