Old Maitland Road's "21 Bends" to be sealed; upgrades planned for Mitchell Avenue, Kurri Kurri and Cessnock Road, Weston

JOY: Old Maitland Road residents Shannon Davis (with sons Ronnie and Tommy), Shane Hamilton and Phoebe Hale, with council's principal engineer Renae Leayr and general manager Lotta Jackson. Picture: Krystal Sellars
JOY: Old Maitland Road residents Shannon Davis (with sons Ronnie and Tommy), Shane Hamilton and Phoebe Hale, with council's principal engineer Renae Leayr and general manager Lotta Jackson. Picture: Krystal Sellars

The notorious stretch known as the 21 Bends is one of three local roads that will be upgraded after Cessnock City Council received a $3.7 million share of joint state and federal funding announced on Monday.

The governments have allocated $382 million across 83 NSW councils for shovel-ready projects that are able to start in the next 12 months, and must be delivered within two years of receiving funding.

Cessnock council received $1.836 million for Old Maitland Road, which will be used to stabilise and surface a three-kilometre unsealed section of pavement through section commonly referred to as the 21 Bends.

Pavement resurfacing on Mitchell Avenue, Kurri Kurri ($1,177,500) and Cessnock Road, Weston ($757,500) will also be completed under this funding allocation.

Cessnock mayor Bob Pynsent said Monday's announcement was "fantastic" news.

"This funding enables us to upgrade roads we know are in need of significant improvements," he said.

"Many residents will be extremely pleased these roads are now getting the work they need to make it safer for motorists.

"It's particularly good news for the Old Maitland Road which has been an area of concern for our community."

The unsealed road has become an increasingly popular route from Cessnock to Maitland's ever-growing western suburbs, and to the Hunter Expressway via Sawyers Gully.

Old Maitland Road residents Shane Hamilton, Phoebe Hale and Shannon Davis were overjoyed with the funding announcement, after campaigning for upgrades following a spate of serious accidents on the road.

The residents say sealing the road will not only improve safety for motorists, but would also reduce the impact of dust on their properties.

"It changes our lives," Ms Hale said.

"It's such a busy road, you don't expect a dirt road to be a main thoroughfare, but it is."

Mr Hamilton said the residents are grateful for the funding allocation.

"We are extremely proud of achieving this and most importantly working together as a community," he said.

"We would like to pass on our thanks and gratitude for the hard work council has put in to obtain this funding.

"The difference it will make to our lives in regards to the dust that infiltrated our homes, our air and water will no longer be a problem for us.

"It's a fantastic result for the whole community, also making the drive to Rutherford from Cessnock much safer for all road users."

EXCITED: Cessnock City Council's general manager Lotta Jackson, principal engineer for design and project management Renae Leayr and Cessnock mayor Bob Pynsent at Old Maitland Road where upgrade works will be completed within the next two years.

EXCITED: Cessnock City Council's general manager Lotta Jackson, principal engineer for design and project management Renae Leayr and Cessnock mayor Bob Pynsent at Old Maitland Road where upgrade works will be completed within the next two years.

The joint funding comes as part of the state and federal governments' plan to "turbocharge" NSW's Fixing Local Roads program.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said the Australian Government's funding injection was about generating jobs, encouraging spending and stimulating local economies.

Mr McCormack, who is also the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, said these projects will drive an estimated 3500 jobs in regional NSW.

State Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said the NSW Government was accelerating its funding for the program to get more projects to seal, maintain and repair local roads under way faster.

"We're not just putting our foot down in terms of delivering this package - we're turbocharging it to ensure we create jobs and create better journeys on the roads that really matter to local communities," Mr Toole said.

Applications for the next round of the program will open later this year.

Council also received federal Black Spot funding this month for safety improvements on Sandy Creek Road, Quorrobolong.

HAVE YOUR SAY: Which roads would you like to see upgraded in the Cessnock local government area? Email your suggestions to mail@cessnockadvertiser.com.au.

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