It's just over a week until voters head to the polls and there has been no firm state election commitment on Maitland's biggest traffic headache.
While both Liberal and Labor are promising hundreds of millions of dollars towards road upgrades in Port Stephens if they win government, neither party has pledged anything towards a much-needed westbound flyover on the New England Highway near Maitland Railway Station.
Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison called for an "urgent" fix to the problem in April last year, but this week she couldn't make an election commitment because the government had not provided the necessary information.
The government announced $1.5 million worth of upgrades for the roundabout including traffic lights, traffic queue detectors and a turning lane extension on Cessnock Road.
However Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) said these were "short-term traffic improvements" that the government had already provided funding for.
A recent Mercury investigation on Maitland's peak hour traffic woes sparked huge reader feedback calling for a westbound flyover.
With polls currently neck and neck, The Mercury approached candidates from both major parties to see what they would do about the westbound problem if they win government.
Liberal candidate Sally Halliday responded after print deadline. See her response at the end of this story.
Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison said she was awaiting the arrival of a Freedom of Information Request (GIPA) she lodged six weeks ago asking for more information including traffic studies and what the options are.
She said it was due back two weeks ago, but RMS asked for more time - meaning it is now meant to arrive on Friday.
The incumbent MP said she would not make a commitment until she had that information.
"I'm not going to go out and say I'm going to do this then they come back with information and say for example 'the ground is too soft or there's this problem'," Ms Aitchison said. "We don't have the information to make a sensible commitment. I'm not going to back in a suggestion that fixes one problem and creates another."
Ms Aitchison criticised the government's decision to proceed with the $1.5 million upgrade without any community consultation.The RMS told The Mercury last year there would be consultation on any measures before a decision was made.
When asked if there had been any community consultation, RMS said it continued to work closely with Maitland Council to investigate future improvements and community consultation would be part of that process.
Ms Aitchison said she was hopeful traffic lights would address the congestion issues at the roundabout, but believed there was still going to be an issue.
"We will look at this," she said. "But everything is being held up on this GIPA.
"I will be fighting for this and working with the RMS towards a solution."
Liberal candidate Sally Halliday responded after print deadline. Here are her comments:
"All roads across Maitland are important and we need a strong focus on improving traffic flow to make it easier for families to travel safely around Maitland.
This was a priority of our former Liberal member Robyn Parker who worked very hard to secure funding for stage one of the New England overpass. Knowing how hard Robyn worked, it makes me saddened and frustrated that we haven't seen the same level of advocacy and results from Labor over the last four years in Maitland. As a result, motorists across the area have not seen any progress, and have actually seen the traffic worsen in this time in many areas.
This issue is important and this is why I have directly raised this issue with the NSW Roads Minister since becoming the candidate. The minister has come on board to fund the RMS solution for users of this intersection. It will commence in April. Although this is not an overpass, it allows for immediate relief without having to wait for designs, acquisitions and negotiations.
Saying this, there is still more work to be do and Maitland needs someone who will actually push and enact solutions. Not just for the roundabout but traffic in general across our city."