Nelson Bay Road options a 'waste of money' says Salt Ash resident

WASTE: Salt Ash's John Williams says the government should get on with the job it started 50 years ago of widening Nelson Bay Road.
WASTE: Salt Ash's John Williams says the government should get on with the job it started 50 years ago of widening Nelson Bay Road.

A Port Stephens resident of nearly 70 years has called on the NSW government to act responsibly and save taxpayers millions of dollars by getting on with the job, which was started 45-50 years ago, of duplicating Nelson Bay Road.

Salt Ash's John Williams, whose family first moved to the area in 1951, believes the two sandhills options put forward by the government as an alternative to the widening of existing Nelson Bay Road "are a waste of both time and money".

The NSW government is currently assessing 98 submissions in response to an online 'have your say' consultation process, which was set up to consider both on-line (road widening) and off-line (bypass) route alignment options before progressing with the $275 million duplication of Nelson Bay Road between Bobs Farm and Williamtown.

Liberal MLC for the Hunter Catherine Cusack said that one of the big issues with Nelson Bay Road was the location of the powerlines.

"While I am not familiar with the resumption referred to [by Mr Williams] ... and irrespective the relocation of those powerlines to make room for the widening of the road is horrendously expensive and involves more resumptions. The corridor does not only support the road it also facilitates powerlines. This is why a feasibility study is needed," she said.

Included in the works are the upgrade to the notorious choke-point, the roundabout at the intersection of Nelson Bay Road and Lemon Tree Passage Road, which begins on Sunday, February 2.

Mr Williams said it was close to 50 years ago that [the then] Department of Main Roads had spent millions of dollars surveying roads, resuming properties, demolishing and shifting buildings and setting back fencelines to cater for the future road expansion.

"At Salt Ash just north of Tilligerry creek bridge you can see the outline where the road upgrade was planned. And south of the bridge heading toward Lemon Tree Pass Road intersection there is a cutting for the roadway to follow ... this section of road should be a priority to alleviate the build up of traffic," he said.

Now 78, Mr Williams and his family have seen the many road changes from the 1950s and were involved in some of the discussions with government departments in the planning for the road's future.

"My parents had a farm on Nelson Bay Road and built the Midway service station in 1956. A few years after the servo was built the NSW government resumed and setback land as I recall approximately 100ft to the new boundary line for the purpose of future road widening," he said.

"These setbacks happened on both Nelson Bay and Cabbage Tree roads, which is evident in most cases by looking at the fence lines on both those roads."