Cessnock councillor Ian Olsen says new entry road to Cessnock Correctional Centre should be a priority

UPDATE: October 23, 8.30pm

Councillor Ian Olsen's notice of motion lapsed due to lack of a seconder.

EXPANSION: The 400-bed prison opened last year at Cessnock Correctional Complex, and has had an impact on the local road network.

EXPANSION: The 400-bed prison opened last year at Cessnock Correctional Complex, and has had an impact on the local road network.

The Cessnock Correctional Complex expansion is almost complete, but answers on a new access road to the complex are no clearer.

More than six months have passed since Cessnock City Council called on the State Government to build a new entrance off Wine Country Drive in an effort to take the jail's increased traffic off the local road network.

A new 400-bed prison opened at the Cessnock complex in January 2018, and a 330-bed facility opened in May this year, with another 240-bed prison due for completion early next year.

Its current entrance on Lindsay Street is temporarily closed while sewer works are completed, and traffic is being diverted via Kerlew Street, Nulkaba.

But council wants neither of these streets to be the permanent access road for prison traffic, asking the government in March this year to build a new road through through land owned by Corrective Services and NSW Health.

Councillor Ian Olsen will table a notice of motion to tonight's meeting, asking that the minister supply a design of the preferred access road and a commitment to complete that road within six months.

"Council may be left with no option but to close the Lindsay Street access due to the excess traffic and damage to local roads," Cr Olsen's motion states.

"The residents of Cessnock have been very patient waiting for a solution and both parties during the recent election committed to solving the problem.

"The current build is almost complete and the Lindsay Street access has been improved and it doesn't look like anything happening so we need the new access road built as a priority."

WORKS: The Lindsay Street entrance to Cessnock Correctional Centre is temporarily closed for sewer works, with prison traffic being diverted to Kerlew Street, Nulkaba.

WORKS: The Lindsay Street entrance to Cessnock Correctional Centre is temporarily closed for sewer works, with prison traffic being diverted to Kerlew Street, Nulkaba.

A Corrective Services NSW spokesperson confirmed on Monday that no decision has been made on a new access road for the complex, but said Lindsay Street will need to remain accessible in the long-term for public transport and emergency services use.

Cessnock MP Clayton Barr said he shares council's concerns about the timelines for construction of a new access road to the prison complex, and that he is expecting an update from corrections minister Anthony Roberts' office this week.

"Since the new minister (Mr Roberts) was appointed in April 2019, we have had a completely fresh set of eyes running through the options with a priority road being investigated through the Health land that forms part of Calvary," Mr Barr said.

"I am expecting an update from the minister's office on progress of the Health land road concept this week.

"It may or it may not be ultimately possible to get a road down through Health land - but at least on this occasion I will be confident that every option has been explored and considered in full, rather than a simple 'It's too hard' approach.

"I am extremely confident that a new access road will be built.

"The minister has committed to the concept of a State Government department, that he is in charge of, being a 'good neighbour' when it comes to infrastructure."

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