Port Stephens residents, motorists, cyclists, pedestrians, tourists and community groups who have waited years for much needed road maintenance along Foreshore Drive say they are hugely disappointed with recently completed roadworks at one of the peninsula's main thoroughfares.
For nearly four months Port Stephens Council had the popular Corlette thoroughfare closed to traffic while an estimated $590,000 worth of roadworks were undertaken.
While ratepayers fear a cyclist or pedestrian will get hit and killed, the council says it does not have the funds to extend the cycle/footpath or to reconstruct the road's dangerous pinch point, the Mambo culvert.
One of the many criticisms from ratepayers was the extensive time taken to complete 300m of road rehabilitation and widening.
A council spokesperson has admitted that the project was weeks over the scheduled time.
"Construction commenced with the closure of Foreshore Drive on February 3 and was completed on April 28. It went over the scheduled time of six weeks due to continual tidal impacts on the road material and extended periods of wet weather."
As for the costs, sourced from PS2020 project and a state blackspot grant, council said these were still being finalised.
"However, they have come under budget even with the delays," the spokesperson said.
Residents' spokesperson Margaret Wilkinson said there had been a chorus of social media comments from "unhappy locals" critical of the "lack of so-called significant works" to the roadway linking Port Stephens Drive and Sandy Point Road, which is used extensively by motorists, tourists, cyclists and joggers/pedestrians.
"The council has taken four months to do some basic maintenance which hasn't solved any of the problems. We still have the cycleway to nowhere and the dangerous Mambo Creek culvert," she said.
"It is only a matter of time before a cyclist or pedestrian is killed or seriously injured."
The council spokesperson said that the replacement and upgrade of the Mambo culvert would be part of Stage 2 roadworks for Foreshore Drive, but conceded there was no funding available.
"Council has plans to reconstruct the culvert, however at this stage we do not have the funds required," the council spokesperson said.
"Due to the sensitive environment adjacent to this culvert, the cost to upgrade is significant.
"Council is working through alternate ways to reconstruct with minimal environmental impacts in order to reduce this cost.
"Until additional funding can be secured, there is no set date in which the upgrade will commence."
Ms Wilkinson said that residents were sick and tired of the unfulfilled promises.
"The footpath along Foreshore Drive is dangerous and in desperate need of an extension. The roadway winds and bends giving cyclists or pedestrians very little time to see oncoming traffic," she said.
Another Corlette resident, cyclist and landcare group member Richard Davis said that the entire road surface needed a complete overhaul.
"About 15 months ago a hole appeared in the roadwork at the culvert and went all the way through the surface so that you could see the water below."
Other ratepayers were critical of the condition of the new road surface, but the council spokesperson said there would be "no further works... and the surface finish is a two-coat seal."
Ms Wilkinson said that she would advocating for the community to lobby Port Stephens Council to do the job properly.
"It seems that these works were only ever about using funding the council had received for the speed humps and a small amount set aside otherwise," she said.
"I can't believe it could have been closed for so long and so little done. We've been begging for years for better safety."