The NSW government has extended the consultation period for the Lower Hunter Freight Corridor by a fortnight after advocacy from Cessnock MP Clayton Barr.
The deadline to provide feedback had already been extended by a fortnight to August 31, but after Mr Barr requested a further month, the government changed it to Monday, September 13.
Mr Barr said attendees of a recent online consultation session had provided negative feedback with some not able to ask questions. He said given 25 per cent of his constituents did not have access to internet, there needed to be an extension and alternative methods considered.
The preferred route for the 30-kilometre rail line between Fassifern and Hexham was revealed last month. The proposed 60-metre wide corridor mostly hugs the M1 Motorway but some properties are impacted, mainly at Black Hill and Cameron Park. Barnsley and West Wallsend residents are also concerned about how close the line would be to their homes.
The government only wants to preserve a corridor at this stage. It has said the rail link, which would remove most freight trains from the existing line through Newcastle, could be 10 to 20 years away from being built.
A Transport for NSW spokesman said about 100 people attended the online consultation session but "unfortunately a small number of attendees experienced some technical difficulty".
"We apologise for any inconvenience," he said. "[We've] rectified the matter and will be carrying out a second virtual engagement session on Tuesday, August 17, 2pm to 3pm. Please register for the event transport.nsw.gov.au/LHFC."
Mr Barr and Lake Macquarie councillor Brain Adamthwaite were scheduled to speak at public meeting organised by the Sugarvalley Neighbourhood Centre at West Wallsend in coming weeks but it may not go ahead due to the lockdown.