Nelson Bay Road at Anna Bay. The duplication of Nelson Bay Road “should have been done years ago”, says a Port Stephens man who has been a traffic engineer since the early 1960s.
Rob Caldwell –who lives at Nelson Bay and owns a business near the busy road – said the upgrade, particularly between Fern Bay and Williamtown, was “a matter of urgency”.
“From a traffic management point of view, [Nelson Bay Road] would certainly pass any test for duplication. That has been the case since I’ve been up here –for 30 years,” he said.
“It’s always been recognised, since I’ve been here, that Nelson Bay Road has to be duplicated.”
Mr Caldwell, who has worked in the local government sector in and Canada, said thesecond bridge being builtover the Hunter River at Tourle Street, Mayfield, meant the road between Williamtown and Fern Bay needed to be duplicated in order to avoid future traffic jams on the bridge.
Read more:Government denies broken election promise over Nelson Bay Road
It comes after the revelation last week that the state government will have spent less than nine per cent of the $70 million it pledged to upgrade Nelson Bay Road between 2015 and 2019, by the time the next election arrives in March.
The premier of the day, Mike Baird, committedthe money less than a fortnight before the last election.
NSW roads minister Melinda Pavey has refused to comment on the issue, while parliamentary secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald said he had lobbied to bring the spend from $226,000 to $6 million for this term –despite the government’s official election promises document earmarkingthe $70 million for the four year period.
Traffic engineer Rob Caldwell.
Read more:‘Insult’: NSW government accused of election backflip
Mr Caldwell said he didn’t want the issue to become a political football.
“If it’s an election issue that’s going to win votes, they’ll promise you the world,” he said.
“But nothing will be done and they’ll think ‘oh well, nothing has been done about this project, we’ll forget about this until the next election comes along and we’ll use it again to try to get more votes’.
“I don’t think it’s the community’s responsibility to wait, I think it’s the government’s responsibility to get in and do something.”