Maitland residents have again put the State Government on notice, this time for an improved and safer intersection at Aberglasslyn Road and the New England Highway, Rutherford before a life is lost.
The plea comes less than a week after the city’s cry for a west-bound flyover to be built, to ease chronic traffic congestion near Maitland Railway Station.
Extraordinary residential and industrial development in the city’s west coupled with remote access and exit points to the Hunter Expressway (at Kurri and Buchanan) are said to be the catalysts for the increased traffic flow which was predicted to ease once the expressway opened.
Not only is the highway often at gridlock during peak morning and afternoon times, the turning lane at the traffic lights into Aberglasslyn Road can no longer accommodate the amount of queuing vehicles. As a result, motorists come to a halt in the fast lane (sometimes as far back as Johnson Street) and are forced to wait for several light rotations before turning the hotel corner.
Fairfax Media spoke to representatives of two businesses which flank the Aberglasslyn Road intersection and Maitland councillor Henry Meskasukas. The RMS will look into the matter and issue a response Friday.
Nick Quinn from The O’Hara Group which owns Rutherford Hotel, said the intersection is extremely dangerous especially of an afternoon. “With so much development along Aberglasslyn Road I think the problem will get worse,” he said. “I haven’t seen any accidents there but heard it is not uncommon.”
Mr Quinn said the build up of traffic has a “massive effect” on hotel trade regularly blocking access. “The fact you can’t turn right onto the highway makes it a hassle for bottleshop customers to drop in and continue on their way.”
Glenn Akhurst, who lives in Telarah and has worked for O’Neill’s Tyres 19 years, doesn’t believe the traffic has become worse. He said there are multiple ways to get into new sub-divisions in the west – along Alexandra Avenue, Denton Park Drive or through Oakhampton.
“The right hand turn (from the highway) into South Street is a problem. I don’t think the traffic is any different to what it was 15 years ago but I do think there needs to be more entry and exit points linking Maitland to the Hunter Expressway,” Mr Akhurst said.
Cr Meskauskas said the long term solution is a by pass linking Lochinvar with Green Hills – a plan he has flagged in the past. “Something has to be done before someone is seriously injured or killed.”
Cr Meskauskas, also a Rutherford resident, is calling on Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) to buy properties along the dangerous stretch of highway to widen the four lanes and have a no right turn coming out of South Street Telarah.
“The RMS needs to buy properties on both sides of the highwaty to make proper intersections and the highway wide enough for four safe lanes and if you’re coming out of South Street it should be a left turn only. We also need other access points to the highway either via Walter or John streets to take pressure off Aberglasslyn Road,” Cr Meskauskas said.
“Sure there are other ways to get onto the highway but it is human nature to go via the most convenient and fastest route.” He said the volume of traffic going through the lights at Rutherford Hotel has pushed more traffic onto back streets for rat runs.
“Aberglasslyn is still a work in progress with massive residential development and more land being released. We also have a huge residential development at Lochinvar which again will mean more traffic on the highway.”
Cr Meskauskas said other access points are at Brooks Street between Second Avenue and the highway and at Fourth Avenue which he said is too narrow in front of Highway Ford for access.
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