The long-awaited Maitland highway overpass was touted as the solution to peak hour traffic problems at one of the city’s busiest intersections.
But six months after the first car made its maiden voyage across the giant concrete bridge, motorists are still experiencing traffic headaches at the Church Street roundabout.
The intersection – which is one of three entries into Maitland city centre from the New England Highway – still becomes clogged with west-bound traffic queues up to 800 metres long at peak travel times in the morning and afternoon.
But it makes sense that the overpass appears to have done little to ease congestion for those travelling west – the flyover was designed as a one-way route for east-bound vehicles.
While Cr Bob Geoghegan (pictured) has stopped short of calling for the state government to provide an overpass for motorists travelling the other direction, he has spoken out about the need to urgently and quickly provide a solution to ease congestion at the infamous intersection.
“It is clear that there are unacceptable delays. Although the new overpass is not yet one year old, it has been long enough to see that this will be an ongoing problem which is only likely to get worse,” he told Fairfax Media.
“The RMS [Roads and Maritime Service] is certainly aware of the issue and are no doubt considering the options, but motorists want to know that there is a solution coming.
“Rutherford vehicles going to Cessnock must not fill the slip lane and block the through lanes on the new overpass, and city centre vehicles in Church Street must not queue back to the Grand Junction Hotel roundabout. I am urging a decision by the RMS in the near future.”
Cr Geoghegan’s suggestion that traffic lights could be installed at the roundabout only to operate during peak periods could be worth consideration by the Roads and Maritime Service.
It would be a relatively cost effective solution that’s unlikely to make a huge mess or affect traffic flow severely while being installed.
If you want to see that type of traffic signal in action, go for a drive to the Lambton-Kotara area in Newcastle during peak time and see the impact of the part-time traffic lights at the roundabout at the intersection of Carnley Avenue, Northcott Drive and Bridges Road.