Traffic in spotlight for planned Fennell Bay estate

11th December 2020

Source: Newcastle Herald | By: Max McKinney | Posted: December 11, 2020

Lake Macquarie MP Greg Piper and west ward councillors have welcomed the NSW government's plans for a 650-lot subdivision in Fennell Bay but expressed concerns about how already congested roads will cope with increased traffic.

The government's land and property development arm, Landcom, recently released a draft masterplan for the proposed estate as part of an ongoing rezoning process it started last year.

The revised plan shows the estate's residential areas have been pushed further west on the 265-hectare site, which abuts Toronto Road and is south of the Billy's Lookout estate in Teralba.

A series of walking and cycling paths, a central community precinct with sporting fields and two park areas have also been included.

Mr Piper said he "hadn't looked at it in detail" but the project was a "logical extension of the existing settlement pattern".

"We're making use of the existing infrastructure in terms of roads, sewer, water," he said.

"But there's certainly implications for impact on ... bushland, but also traffic issues.

"It's been on the drawing board for an awful long time, so it's really about how it's being delivered."

Councillor Jason Pauling (LIB) said he was "essentially supportive" of the project.

"I think it makes sense and is needed," he said.

"However, the road infrastructure along route B53 is grossly substandard in terms of capacity and this needs to be addressed as a matter of priority."

Cr David Belcher (ALP) said the "western side of the lake was booming in terms of population growth" and there were "bottlenecks all the way up the western side".

The estate's entrance would be at the Toronto Road and Enterprise Way intersection.

The plan identifies land west of Toronto Road for "potential future widening" as part of a corridor gazetted by the council in 2012.

Mr Piper said while the road should be widened there were other more pressing upgrades needed like the Speers Point roundabout, which he said was an "ongoing issue with RMS".

"The straight isn't the issue, it's more when you get to the roundabouts and major intersections," he said.

"They are the choke points. But the entire road needs attention and we have not been able to get RMS to act on it."

It is not clear if the development will have a second entrance further south where Old Main Road meets Toronto Road, but Mr Piper said there had once been plans for the nearby Billy's Lookout estate to be connected to the Fennell Bay land with a road bridge over the railway line in order for both sites to have additional entries and exits.

However, the bridge requirement was later removed in a deal struck between the developer and council.

"If that had of been there, we would have had a very sensible extension of the road network," he said.

Transport for NSW is planning a "corridor strategy" for the main road between "Morisset and Wallsend", an agency spokesman said.

"The strategy will recognise the needs of all modes of transport," he said. "Separately, planning has commenced to identify potential improvements for the Speers Point roundabout."

Landcom will prepare a traffic and transport assessment as the estate plans progress assessing the existing capacity of, and the development's impacts on, the surrounding road network.

The agency is calling for feedback on the draft master plan and will hold online drop-in sessions on Tuesday between 12pm-1pm and 5pm-6pm.

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