Cessnock City Council approves intersection design for correctional centre access road at Nulkaba

ACCESS: The Lindsay Street entrance to Cessnock Correctional Complex will be closed, with a new entry to be constructed off Occident Street, Nulkaba.
ACCESS: The Lindsay Street entrance to Cessnock Correctional Complex will be closed, with a new entry to be constructed off Occident Street, Nulkaba.

Cessnock City Council has approved an intersection design for the new access road to Cessnock Correctional Centre at Nulkaba.

The design was endorsed at last Wednesday's council meeting, and comes after council voted in August 2020 to accept the NSW Government's offer to build the new access road via Kerlew and Occident streets.

The new access road will be built in order to close the current entry on Lindsay Street, which has had a significant increase in traffic in recent years due to the 1800-bed expansion of the prison complex.

After a campaign by Nulkaba residents, the new road will be isolated from the local road network, with the closure of the western leg of Kerlew Street and the northern leg of Occident Street at the intersection in order to separate jail traffic from general local traffic movements.

A community information session was held on September 23, followed by a survey which received 210 submissions. The approved design was the preferred option of 75 per cent of the survey respondents.

"The new access is an example of the utilitarian principle of doing the greatest good for the greatest number," council's acting infrastructure manager Nicole Benson said in the council report.

"Council can mitigate the impacts of the changed arrangements on the residents of Nulkaba. Having considered their comments Option 3 in the communities view the best means of accomplishing this outcome."

Nulkaba residents' group spokesperson Craig Findley said the outcome was "the best result of a bad situation".

"The past is the past, and what the jail wanted to do is done. The jail dictated where it was going to place the road," he said.

"Assuming it is constructed affectively it will isolate the traffic from our local road network, and hopefully there will be no antisocial behaviour. If not, we'll look for mitigating measures."

AMENITY: The new road will be designed to isolate jail traffic from Nulkaba's residential streets.

AMENITY: The new road will be designed to isolate jail traffic from Nulkaba's residential streets.

Council will allocate a further $219,000 from its civil works reserve for the construction of the intersection, in addition to the $314,958 it had already set aside under its Traffic Facilities Program.

Council voted to engage with the Nulkaba community prior to finalising the detailed design, and to bring a report back to the community six months after the entrance is complete with options for mitigating any issues that may have been raised.

The general manager will also investigate renaming that section of Kerlew Street (from Wine Country Drive to Occident Street) and improvements to associated wayfinding technologies.

A report will now be prepared for the Cessnock Local Traffic Committee. Construction is expected to start this financial year.

A motion of urgency by Cr Allan Stapleford, which asked council to write to the state member and Premier to raise its concerns about the government's proposal to take some fire stations temporarily offline, was also supported.

Council's next meeting (November 17) will be held in caretaker mode, with the election scheduled for December 4.

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