The benefits of the $1.7 billion Hunter Expressway are fast becoming obvious since its official opening in March.
This magnificent stretch of road has opened up the Lower Hunter Valley like never before and looks likely to deliver prosperity on a grand scale.
Large housing estates have popped up close to the off ramps along this new stretch of road, offering residents easy access to the M1 and a quick trip to Sydney or access to the Hunter’s wineries and mines.
For Maitland residents living close to the expressway it has put them within 25 minutes of Greta and Branxton in one direction and the outskirts of Newcastle in the other.
It makes getting around the region quick and easy.
More importantly it has greatly reduced traffic flow on the New England Highway through Maitland, taking pressure of traffic accident black spots at Beresfield and Rutherford.
This, in turn, has seen a major reduction in the number of car crashes on our roads – down about 20 per cent on last year’s figures.
Police say the drop is largely thanks to the expressway and while fatalities are on par with last year they hope the downward trend in accident figures will also result in fewer deaths.
This is good news for the city’s motorists and with work on the Maitland railway station roundabout flyover in the pipeline our traffic
situation appears to be on the improve.
Now the pressure is on the Roads and Maritime Services to fix the city’s two major feeder roads to the expressway – Buchanan Road and Cessnock Road.
Such projects would encourage greater use of the expressway and further reduce traffic on the New England Highway.