Drivers' frustration over Port Stephens roads and potholes

DANGEROUS: Shane Cox watches as two cars pass each other on Swan Bay Road.

DANGEROUS: Shane Cox watches as two cars pass each other on Swan Bay Road.

The state of Port Stephens roads has been the subject of much comment following the heavy rain events in March and July this year.

Two roads which constantly come under the attention of residents and motorists are Lemon Tree Passage Road and Swan Bay Road.

Unfortunately for residents of Swan Bay, some of their roads are the subject of regular complaint and the rains just make the roadways more dangerous and multiply residents' safety issues.

Lilleys Road resident of four years Shane Cox says he is deeply concerned about the poor state of both Lilleys Road [a gravel road] and the connecting Swan Bay Road.

"Earlier this year Port Stephens Council workers did a great job in tarring the surface of a section of Swan Bay Road, which we are most grateful for," Mr Cox said.

"However, the bigger issue is the section of roadway that is too narrow to accommodate passing vehicles, which leaves motorists no alternative but to shift to the side of the road on the slippery, muddy surface.

"It may not be so bad for locals, but for visitors driving in the wet or at night it can be a nightmare. I have personally seen up to half a dozen accidents in the four years we have lived here, including a recent truck accident and an incident where a vehicle left the road, crashed through a fence and landed on its roof."

Mr Cox said that Lilleys Road requires re-seeding.

A council spokesperson said they were aware of the condition of Swan Bay Road and were continuing to maintain the road through their grading program while investigating funding options for further works to improve road safety.

"We generally run a scheduled grading program where we maintain all gravel roads by area in turn. When wet weather hits this is replaced by a priority response approach. Due to the continuous wet weather, we have been on a reactive program since December. Works in the Swan Bay area have been delayed due to the wet weather and high ground water table."

At Lemon Tree Passage Road, locals Graeme Tobin and Ray Harvey say the potholes after rain are big enough to cause serious damage to vehicles, if not motorists and pedestrians.

"Some of the potholes are big enough to damage a car's tyres or wheel alignment. It has become a serious safety issue and it has been ongoing for 20 years or more. You only need a drizzle and [potholes] open up ... the council workers come around, patch them up until the next rain event."

Mr Tobin claims that he personally has contacted the council, either by telephone or email, countless times over 20 years to complain about potholes on the peninsula. He said that council had finally filled in the roadway near Crawley Avenue and a few other potholes, "however, they missed another pothole near Fairlands Road."

POTHOLE: Graeme Tobin with debris from one of the potholes on Lemon Tree Passage Road, which has subsequently been filled by council.

POTHOLE: Graeme Tobin with debris from one of the potholes on Lemon Tree Passage Road, which has subsequently been filled by council.

"What we need is for the road surface to be dug up - similar to what is happening now at the other end of Lemon Tree Passage Road - and rebuilt with kerb and guttering to stop the excess water and debris washing on to the road."

A council spokesperson said that Lemon Tree Passage Road had sustained more damage as a result of recent weather, which included the 50km zones. "Our crews are repairing potholes across Port Stephens and are prioritising works based on risk.

The improvements to Lemon Tree Passage road in the Salt Ash area have been funded by $2.2 million in Federal and NSW Government Black Spot grants to improve road safety. We will continue to apply for grants."

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