Maitland Business Chamber has called on the State Government to “finish what it started” and build a westbound flyover to remedy the city’s chronic traffic gridlock which the chamber said has divided Maitland in two.
Describing Maitland’s traffic as now reminiscent of Sydney’s, the chamber vented its frustration in a statement to Fairfax Media, and didn’t mince words.
The chamber said the one-way east-bound flyover has failed and claimed it has compounded existing traffic snarls on the already congested Cessnock Road by adding additional lanes to the network surrounding the railway station roundabout.
“It has created a dangerous rat run through Maitland Park and has divided the city in two,” the statement said. “Finish what you started. It’s time for Maitland residents to have the whole solution they deserve.”
The chamber is now pressing Maitland City Council and the State Government to – “do what is necessary to ensure the job is finished and find a solution.”
Council’s Group Manager Infrastructure and Works Chris James said the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) has undertaken traffic surveys and investigation of options to resolve the congestion issues at the Les Darcy Drive roundabout.
“It is council’s understanding that the RMS intends to commence community consultation this year on proposals to address the issues,” Mr James said. “The extent of works proposed is unknown but is expected to include a program of works that will address the roundabout congestion and associated flow on effects through Maitland Park and surrounding streets.”
Chamber Executive Officer and local commuter Jen Hearn said it is not uncommon for her to be stuck in the railway station roundabout snarl for 15 to 20 minutes, particularly between 3.30 and 4pm weekdays.
Levee trader Marilyn Beer of Efagi Boutique said a west-bound flyover needs to be built to keep traffic flowing, particularly into the city centre. “By 3.50pm its bumper to bumper,” she said. “Some afternoons I walk around Maitland Park with a friend and we often take note of a particular vehicle to see if we beat it to the roundabout which we often do.
“It wasn’t that long ago there was a dreadful rear-ender at the United service station where a driver, not expecting west bound traffic to be at a standstill, collided with the rear of another vehicle. One of the cars spun around and ended up on the other side of the road,” Marilyn said.
The chamber statement went on to say: “In 2012, when Maitland’s infamous single direction flyover was proposed, local drivers were assured that the RMS had conducted tests and run scenarios proving the east-bound flyover would work.
“Local residents vocally opposed the absurd notion that half a solution would solve a whole problem. Their opposition was noted and dismissed, and construction started anyway,” the chamber said.
Chamber President Matthew Bardwell said the flyover construction and associated works on roundabout feeder roads has cut the city in two. “Commuters, unless absolutely necessary, are choosing to stay either east or west (of the city) rather than taking the risk of hitting extreme traffic at the intersection and heading into town,” he said.
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