Mayoral minute at Port Stephens Council meeting triggers temporary closure on controversial Salamander Bay intersection

SEEING RED: Left turning vehicles must give way to opposing right turning traffic.
SEEING RED: Left turning vehicles must give way to opposing right turning traffic.

Port Stephens Council will erect signs and barriers to temporarily block motorists from turning right into the Salamander Bay shops onto Salamander Bay on Wednesday.

The mayor of Port Stephens Ryan Palmer took extraordinary steps at Tuesday night’s council meeting after a series of crashes at the “controversial intersection”, including a “serious one” last week.

In the mayoral minute – a late addition to the agenda – Cr Palmer spoke about persistent concerns from sections of the community including one frequent letter writer.

“Coincidentally it was his wife and child that were affected last week, that were T-boned by a car that pulled out,” he said.

“It’s been a controversial intersection since it went in. For whatever reason, but in my mind, it is the traffic at Salamander Bay that is the problem.” 

The intersection was the subject of extensive roadworks a year ago – work that was completed on February 12, 2017 – after it qualified for funds under the Black Spot Funding program.

The design featured a non-standard seagul turn at the Community Close intersection that required vehicles turning left to give way to vehicles entering the shops, to their right.

From early on it attracted criticism, from people including resident traffic engineer, Rob Caldwell.

Cr John Nell backed the motion.

“When the Salamander Bay shopping centre was first opened the RTA stopped all traffic turning out of this centre,” he said.

“There’s a lot more traffic now than there was back then.

“Now when people do take the plunge they put their foot down quite quickly.

“While there are other intersections like it in Port Stephens, none of them has the traffic that this one does.”

Cr Steve Tucker and Cr Jaimie Abbott also spoke in favour of the temporary closure. 

Cr Palmer said council officers would be on the scene Wednesday morning to erect the barriers.

The Local Traffic Committee will now undertake a review of the intersection.