Without canvassing further issues regarding the legality or otherwise of the closure of Wallaby Scrub Road it’s time to consider road safety issues.
What concerns us about the closure is the undeniable fact that more traffic will now be using the intersection of the Golden Highway and Putty Roads at Mount Thorley.
The intersection is hardly a model of great road design and it has been the site of numerous accidents over the years.
There is a blind spot and limited space for queuing traffic turning right from the highway onto Putty Road. In addition you have heavy traffic coming and exiting the Mount Thorley Industrial Estate.
Given the closure of Wallaby Scrub Road has been an ongoing issue since 2010 one would have thought that the State Government would have improved the intersection with safety upgrades and at the same time improved roadways either side in anticipation of the closure.
But no, now road users, many coming to and from Windsor on the Putty Road, are now expected to negotiate that intersection.
As Bulga resident and regular users of the intersection Wayne Riley told the Argus the intersection is now a ‘death trap’ thanks to the increase in traffic use now Wallaby Scrub Road is closed.
We already have way too many dangerous roads and intersections in the Hunter Valley. Only a few kilometres down the Golden Highway where it meets the New England Highway we have probably one of the worst in the region.
And we have waited years for any major improvements to take place – we are waiting now for final designs of a fly-over.
So perhaps it may be wise to re-open Wallaby Scrub Road until a safe intersection is designed and constructed at Mount Thorley.
Once again poor planning puts lives at risk.
On matters of community health it was pleasing to see the NSW Minister for Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton acknowledge the region has a mine dust problem.
She announced last week Operation Dust Patrol was underway, and inspectors from the Environment Protection Authority are on the alert.
Lets hope the Upper Hunter Air Quality Networks monitors remain silent while the inspectors are on the beat.
And any breaches receive a serious fine not the $15,000 handed out earlier this year.