Shadow Minister for Roads, Jodi McKay has joined those calling for an urgent upgrade of the Hart Road-Gingers Lane crossroad at Weston.
The road, which crosses Sawyers Gully Road and Government Road, has become a popular route to and from the Hunter Expressway since it opened in 2014.
There have been numerous crashes at the site since then (including three in nine days in April this year), and while Cessnock City Council is working with Roads and Maritime Services on a solution, no changes have been implemented to address the safety issues at the intersection.
The NSW Government set aside $31 million to improve any safety issues that emerged on feeder roads following the opening of the expressway.
Cessnock MP Clayton Barr said none of this money has been spent on the Hart Road exit and its feeder roads.
“Now we are really beginning to see the consequences of their inaction,” he said.
“It is a council road, but the problem here is the expressway, and it is the responsibility of the state government to help with a solution.
“We all understand this problem was caused by the Hunter Expressway – it never used to exist, neither the expressway or the problem – now they both exist, and we need to find a solution to go forward.
“It is fair and reasonable that the community would expect the state government to play a role in funding the solution here.”
Ms McKay joined Mr Barr at the Weston intersection on Thursday afternoon, when she visited the Lower Hunter to inspect roads that have been impacted by extra traffic as a result of the expressway.
Ms McKay said the expressway was a welcome initiative, but there have been repercussions that the state government should fix.
“It’s disappointing that the government refuses to address these very serious safety issues,” Ms McKay said.
“They have been asked time and time again to act, yet refuse to listen to the community.
“This dangerous intersection is just another example of their neglect and disregard for the region.
“The government is spending billions on toll roads in Sydney but will not address the significant safety issues of this intersection in Weston.”
Mr Barr said more than 30 Weston residents have contacted him since early May to express their concerns about the intersection and request immediate upgrades by RMS.
“In recent weeks I have been inundated with calls and emails from local residents who fear that someone will be killed if changes aren’t made to the intersection,” he said.
“It is time the Minister and Roads and Maritime Services responded to these calls for action.
“I appreciate that council is working to install a short-term solution, but the NSW Government needs to step in and fund a permanent solution sooner rather than later.”
Ms McKay also visited Testers Hollow on Thursday with Member for Maitland Jenny Aitchison, calling for the government to raise the flood-prone road as soon as possible. Read more about that visit here.