The call to raise the road at Testers Hollow is nothing new to former Maitland mayor and Liberal candidate for the seat of Maitland Graham Dunkley.
In March 1988 Mr Dunkley, who was running for the state seat of Maitland, pledged major improvements for the Testers Hollow causeway. He said he had received written undertaking from the NSW Liberal Party that the road would be upgraded under a Liberal government.
He contacted the Mercury this week to share his thoughts on a problem he said has been on the Maitland fix-it agenda for decades.
The Mercury launched a campaign last month that calls on the state government to raise the road and provide a permanent solution to the ongoing flooding problems at Testers Hollow.
In 1988, Mr Dunkley said the Maitland to Kurri road would be brought up to main road specifications by raising and rebuilding the causeway at Testers Hollow.
He said the road was one of the worst maintained in the Mailand district.
He said the low-grade southern access to Kurri from Richmond Main into Pelaw Main would also be rebuilt under the pledge and estimated that both project would cost about $180 million, the money taken from drivers in petrol tax by the then Labor government.
Last week, Mr Dunkley said Testers Hollow had been closed for extended periods due to local and major flooding about 22 times.
“It has been closed about 22 times in my recollection since I came to Maitland in 1949,” Mr Dunkley said.
“I have been here since I was aged 10, so that’s about 70 years of neglect by successive state governments on both sides of politics.
“The first time I recall was in 1949, but it had happened many times before then as well.
“Though it is nearest to the Maitland local government area, there seems to have been a generational disinterest in upgrading that part of the road from its responsible authority, Cessnock City Council, which has not, to my recollection, approached the state government about funds for its improvement.
“This is an insult to thousands of local tax and rate-paying residents who are almost entirely dependent on that road,” Mr Dunkley said.