When I decided to run as Member for Paterson in 2016, I put a lot of thought into my priorities for the electorate. Although the list of things that should be done was endless, narrowing those down to a few projects that could be done first was a challenge.
When it came to that list, raising Testers Hollow was a no-brainer. Many locals believe it should have been raised in the 1930s.
Not long after I made the announcement during the 2016 election, the Government backed my idea. In 2017, funds were allocated to the project and a few weeks ago the plans for this section of road were released for public consultation.
So far, the project is on track and I'm proud to know my voice contributed to this.
I was shocked to see that the plan for this road included one lane each way, especially because of the population growth in our area. Maitland and Cessnock local government areas are growing at a rate of one family per day and with that our roads are becoming more congested. Our infrastructure isn't keeping up with our population growth.
When asked why expanding the road wasn't considered, the RMS stated that their intention is to address flooding, not traffic.
In no way do I want to delay the start of work on Testers Hollow. The plan was always about preventing the road from being closed in the event of a flood. But with population growth in the area increasing at an unprecedented rate, improving infrastructure to accommodate is already overdue.
You can see these plans and share your thoughts online at rms.work/testershollow by September 17, 2019.
Testers Hollow isn't the only infrastructure project in the electorate that needs addressing. This week in Parliament I've reminded this government of all the other projects that need to be prioritised. In particular, intersections along Main Road in Heddon Greta and the extension to the M1 from Black Hill to Raymond Terrace.
I will continue to advocate for our region as I have done since I was elected.
We can't wait another 90 years.
- Meryl Swanson is the Federal Member for Paterson. Contact her office on 02 4983 2401 or via merylswanson.com.au.