Port Stephens Council responds to Mustons Road petition with $20,000 give way solution

File picture.
File picture.

Work is all but complete on measures designed to protect pedestrians and cyclists on a narrow road at Karuah.

More than 300 residents petitioned Port Stephens Council earlier this year concerned about the safety of Mustons Road where it crosses a narrow culvert.

While the council had scheduled work for the financial year 2024-25 to rebuild the culvert at an estimated $600,000 the residents argued it was too long to wait given a history of near misses.

As a result of the petition, the council has converted a 100-metre section of Mustons Road from a two way, two-lane road into a one-way road with the installation of a give way sign in a measure to increase the safety of pedestrians in the meantime. 

A permanent fix is still scheduled for 2024-25.

“This design allows pedestrians to now walk safely on the eastern side of the road,” the council’s asset section manager John Maretich said.

“Traffic coming from Karuah township has right of way, while traffic coming towards Karuah township needs to give way to oncoming traffic – similar to one-lane brides in some areas of the region.

“There is no overtaking or passing allowed on this short section of Mustons Road.”

The council received the petition with the signatures of 345 residents on February 13.

In response the council referred the challenge to the local traffic committee.

Representatives from the NSW Police Force, Roads and Maritime Services, bus operators and members of parliament comprise the committee. 

“Given the safety concerns, the Traffic Committee selected this option as it could be implemented almost immediately to improve pedestrian and cyclist safety,” Mr Maretich said.

“[It cost] $20,000 including design, approvals, construction and vegetation works. 

“While the new design has been implemented and meets Australian standards, the community has requested some additional works that will be undertaken shortly.”

“Council’s preferred future option is a culvert upgrade with a two lane, two way road and separate pedestrian walkway,” Mr Maretich said.

“This solution is funded and scheduled for 2024/2025. 

“The cost of these works is significant as they involve the replacement of the culvert beneath the road and would require significant environment impact assessment.”

Karuah resident Merv McConnochie raised the matter in December after he had a near miss with a pedestrian.

"If there's two vehicles passing at the same time you're often swerving into something or [potentially] taking out a pedestrian," he said.