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Monday, March 1, 2021

Pledge to ease traffic choke spot

The NSW Government claims a westbound flyover will not be needed when it completes an upgrade to Maitland’s worst peak-hour traffic choke spot.

In October 2019, traffic lights were installed on the eastbound approach to the roundabout on the New England Highway in a bid to ease traffic congestion.

Transport for NSW then called for feedback on its proposed second phase of work.

A community consultation report outlined plans to reduce westbound queues by installing traffic lights on the Church Street approach to manage traffic flow during busy times.

It also promised to provide two through lanes from Church Street to Cessnock Road, as well as two right lanes into Cessnock Road for eastbound traffic on the New England Highway.

The proposal received 130 submissions, with some respondents showing support while others requested a westbound flyover instead of the improvements to the roundabout.

Despite numerous requests, the government’s report claimed this would not be required.

“When these improvements have been completed, a westbound flyover will not be required as westbound queuing and delays will be significantly reduced,” the report read.

“Transport will continue to monitor traffic volumes and land use in the Maitland area.”

Traffic monitoring carried out by the government argues the preferred option is expected to reduce delay times for westbound motorists by about 80% during afternoon peak hours.

It also claims that lane configuration changes at the roundabout will increase the capacity of the roundabout and allow more motorists to travel through the roundabout during each traffic light phase.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter, Catherine Cusack, said the preferred option could be delivered during the second half of 2020 and would have no impact on surrounding properties or Maitland Park.

“The improvements will provide travel time benefits for road users sooner, while traffic modelling shows the upgraded roundabout will continue to operate effectively into the future,” she said.

Apart from the proposal, respondents also raised several other issues, which included the speed of motorists using Maitland Park as a rat run; the need for better infrastructure to cope with a growing population in Maitland; traffic congestion and queuing at the Church Street and Railway Street roundabout; and increased traffic from development at Gillieston Heights.

Transport for NSW is finalising the design for the roundabout improvements and will notify the community before work starts on the project.

A copy of the report is available via the Roads and Maritime Services’ website.