Residents reject upgrade

ALL they wanted was to have a few potholes repaired, but residents of the tiny village of Swan Creek are getting much more than a few shovels of hot bitumen.

On Monday, the RTA will begin work on a $960,000 upgrade to improve the safety and road access from Swan Creek to the Pacific Highway.

The process will involve building a new road from the village to intersect with the highway, as well as providing a left-turn lane on the highway leading up to the intersection.

"Once completed, the new entrance will not only improve safety but also support important local services and infrastructure such as the school bus and community hall," an RTA spokesperson said.

"These improvements are good news for Swan Creek."

Locals, however, remain sceptical of the upgrade.

They say the access road, McPhee St, does not need improvements - a view strongly supported by the intersection's reputation as one of the safest on the Pacific Highway.

"There have not been any deaths or accidents at the intersection. We (the locals) believe it is working safely as it is now," Jane Pritchard said.

"In early 2010, Swan Creek residents received notification the RTA was planning on improving the highway access. Originally we just wanted some potholes in McPhee St fixed and now it has become a huge project. The community is in disbelief.

"Many of us think the RTA should spend the $960,000 on improving the safety of the Centenary Dr turn-off instead. That intersection is very dangerous. Traffic flies out onto the highway and it is a notorious location for accidents. We know that because we drive past it all the time.

"We don't understand why we are having all this money spent on us when there are other locations in need of safety improvements."

A spokesperson for the RTA said solutions to improve the safety at the intersection of Centenary Dr and the Highway were being investigated.

"Centenary Dr was discussed during the recent Swan Creek project consultations and residents were advised the project is being investigated," the spokesperson said.

Community consultation was carried out in late 2010 between the RTA, Clarence Valley Council and Swan Creek residents. The final design for the safety improvements at Swan Creek includes:

Resurfacing along McPhee and Small streets to create a new intersection with the highway.

Providing a new turn around area within the village at the former school site.

Widening the eastern side of the highway to improve visibility of approaching traffic from the north and to allow for the building of a new dedicated left-turn lane.

Improving turning facilities for the school bus to access the highway.

Installing new street lights at the intersection to help guide traffic at night.

Providing a new access for the community hall.

Work is due to be completed early 2012, weather permitting.

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