Seaham Road residents express road safety concerns as Hanson seek to expand Brandy Hill Rock Quarry

Seaham Road residents
Seaham Road residents

A fear that hundreds, if not thousands, of Raymond Terrace and Nelsons Plains residents will be heavily impacted by the doubling of truck movements to and from the Brandy Hill rock quarry has prompted a new push to halt its proposed expansion.

The rock quarry has been in operation since 1983 and in March this year owner Hanson applied to increase production from 700,000 tonne a year to 1.5 million tonne a year over 30 years.

With the increase in production comes an increase in the number of trucks - typically with dog trailer - to 600 a day, which has some residents fearing carnage on the roads unless speed limits along Seaham Road are drastically reduced.

The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment has recommended approval of the application, but the final decision rests with the Independent Planning Commission. The hours of truck movements being sought are between 5am and 10pm Monday to Friday and 6am to 6pm Saturday.

The main transport routes are via Brandy Hill Drive, Seaham Road, Adelaide Street and Richardson Road to the Pacific Highway.

The Examiner has previously reported on the road safety and bus access concerns Brandy Hill Road residents face, now the residents of Seaham Road have expressed similar fears.

Resident Donna Lidbury said that she had rallied the locals in an attempt to alert the independent commission of the number of residents expected to be impacted by extra truck movements in speed zones that vary up to and including 100km/h.

"All these trucks have to pass our homes which means we have to put up with the huge increase in truck numbers, the diesel fumes, the noise and the damage to the road surface. That's just Seaham Road, I am not even sure if residents of Adelaide Street and Richardson Road are aware of the situation," she said.

Residents believe the speed limits along the entire length of Seaham Road should be capped at 70km/h.

"This is a residential area and there is a preschool further up the road," say brothers and Trevor and Geoff Foot, who are fourth generation residents with properties on Seaham Road.

"Our concern is backing in or out of our property with traffic speeding at 100kmph ... it becomes a dangerous exercise and there have been that many near misses. I fear a doubling of the number of truck movements will be disastrous," Geoff added.

Another resident Geoff Winnett fears there will be a major accident and "many of us have kids and grand-kids", while Michael O'Brien, who lives on the intersection of Seaham and Hinton roads, says his access in and out of his property is "horrendous" and the noise of some of these trucks was deafening.

And to avoid what they term as "potential road carnage", the residents have also called for a right hand turn lane from Seaham Road into Hinton Road.

A Hanson spokesperson said that the independent Traffic Impact Assessment, conducted by Intersect, confirmed that the design of the road is suitable and safe for the proposed traffic levels.

"At all times, Hanson drivers operate with best practice management protocols including monitoring of location, speed and use of braking systems."

State MP Kate Washington said that since the IPC hearing on June 5, the government had announced the project would be 'fast-tracked'.

"By fast-tracking this complex and contentious project the government is potentially undermining the independence of the process which is already underway. I've written to the Minster for Planning requesting the project be removed from the fast tracking program to ensure the IPC fully considers the significant social and environmental impacts on our community," she said.

West ward councillors have weighed into the discussions, with Cr Paul Le Mottee saying the onus was on the state government to repay residents by lowering speed limits and funding the general maintenance and upkeep of roads and infrastructure used by quarry trucks.

Cr Giacomo Arnott added: "I fully support any efforts to make this section of road safer. Residents and those using this road deserve to be able to use it safely, and I encourage RMS to review the speed limits as soon as possible."

In terms of maintenance on Seaham Road, a council spokesperson said that the most recent major road upgrade from Hinton Road into Raymond Terrace had taken place approximately 10 years ago, while ongoing general maintenance including resealing of the road, line marking and pothole repairs were undertaken as necessary.

"Neither council or the Local Traffic Committee have delegation to change speed limits. All speed limits in NSW are determined by Transport for NSW," the spokesperson said.

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