Duns Creek residents petition Port Stephens Council for frequent and adequate maintenance of roads

PETITIONERS: Residents of Duns Creek and Forest roads in Duns Creek have petitioned Port Stephens Council about improved road surface.
PETITIONERS: Residents of Duns Creek and Forest roads in Duns Creek have petitioned Port Stephens Council about improved road surface.

After years of complaining about the dangerous condition of their gravel roads, residents of Duns Creek say it's time for Port Stephens Council to completely tar the road or stop approving new housing developments.

Residents of Duns Creek Road and Forest Road say the increase in traffic with the number of new families moving into the area - in addition to the infrequent grading of the gravel section of road - was causing serious safety issues.

"The number of accidents has increased and we fear a tragedy," the residents say.

The council did not, however, consider the road to be dangerous "so long as people drive to the conditions".

"These roads are regularly inspected and maintained to a satisfactory condition. All identified defects are assessed and prioritised based on risk against the entire road network," a council spokesperson said.

"Generally, roads are dangerous places for pedestrians. To remain safe, it's important that pedestrians are careful when using any road, particularly those with high speed limits."

In response to new housing developments, the spokesperson said that each development application was considered on its merits. "Vehicle access to residential development is a routine consideration with DAs."

A petition with 298 signatures, calling for more frequent and adequate maintenance of the gravel sections of both Duns Creek and Forest roads, was been lodged by residents with the council.

"Many more vehicles are using our roads yet we are still only getting four-monthly maintenance. Yet during the last maintenance a large section of gravel was not touched for some reason," petition organiser and Duns Creek Road resident of six years, Lorelle Herbert, said.

"Even the sections that were done were well below standard and the insufficient drainage caused the surface to break up again within a fortnight.

"The road surface is at its worse immediately after rain and after long, dry spells.

"There have been several accidents in the last 18 months. As ratepayers we expect to have a safe, usable road with regular maintenance, cleared vegetation and a plan for future bitumen works within an acceptable time frame."

Ultimately the residents would like to see the entire surfaces of both Duns Creek and Forest roads fully tarred, "but in the meantime grading should be carried out at least every three months to ensure vehicle and pedestrian safety".

They would also like to see the road widened and overhanging trees lopped.

"The buses refuse to travel this road which means the children must be driven to the end of the road by parents or are forced to walk," Ms Herbert said.

The residents say they would also like the council to install speed limit signs as a warning to motorists not familiar with the roadway.

The council spokesperson said that maintenance grading was undertaken on Duns Creek Road four times per year, and three time a year for Forest Road.

"We undertake extra maintenance grading when needed and reassess the roads regularly, especially after periods of extended wet weather," the spokesperson said.

"The council's next scheduled work is in July 2019, which includes a fifth grade with a gravel resheet for some parts of the road.

"Roads like Duns Creek Road take approximately five days to grade at an estimated cost of $21,100. For Forest Road, the works takes two days costing $7300."

The spokesperson said that a segment of Duns Creek Road was listed for upgrading and sealing in the 2024-25 financial year with an estimated cost of $788,700.