Piper still pushing for solution on Wangi road impasse

23rd August 2018

Source: The Lakes Mail | By: David Stewart | Posted: August 23, 2018

THERE’S a $2.2-million makeover coming for a section of Watkins Road, in Wangi Wangi, but still no long-term maintenance plan for the state-owned Reserve Road, at the end of Wangi Point.

Lake Macquaie City Council has opened community consultation on the $2.2 million renewal of a 750-metre stretch of Watkins Road between the intersections with Short Street and Crescent Road.

The project includes resurfacing of the road, new kerbing, gutters and drainage and a new footpath running parallel to the road’s northern side.

Council’s infrastructure assets section manager Karen Partington said the original road was built about 100 years ago and had been identified in council’s pavement management system as needing an upgrade.

“The current road surface is in poor condition, and the road width is not sufficient for today’s standards,” Ms Partington said.

“The drainage and footpaths in this area have also been identified as needing an upgrade.”

Residents in the 83 homes fronting the works area will be consulted prior to construction starting, with updates provided throughout the 10- to 12-month works period.

“Access to driveways will be available most of the time while works are under way,” Ms Partington said.

“There will be a short period, when each household has its driveway reinstalled to the new kerb section, where they will not be able to access their driveways, but this will be kept to a minimum.

“Council staff will liaise with affected property owners prior to this occurring, to give them time to make other arrangements.”

Work is expected to begin by the end of 2018.

A second stage of the Watkins Road upgrade, from Crescent Road to Wangi Point Holiday Park, is also planned, however a date for the start of that work has not been set.

There is still no long-term plan, though, for the ongoing maintenance of the 250-metre stretch of gravel that is Reserve Road.

This road links Watkins Road, on the northern side of Wangi Point, with Dobell Drive, on the southern side of the peninsula. 

Last year the Lakes Mail revealed the concerning extent of shin-deep pot-holing of the road, and the danger it posed to motorists. 

A jurisdictional impasse between the council and National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) was preventing repairs to the road.

The road runs through Lake Macquarie State Conservation Area, which makes it the responsibility of the NPWS.

So the council has no obligation to maintain the road, but NPWS has no responsibility to maintain the road as a “main thoroughfare”.

Mayor Kay Fraser called it another example of the state government “cost shifting” to the council, and said ratepayers didn’t want council spending  money to maintain a road it didn’t own.

Lake Macquarie MP Greg Piper intervened and NPWS eventually completed repair works to Reserve Road in November. Council had previously completed regrading works there in late 2016.

Nine months after the NPWS repairs, a council spokesperson said council and the NPWS were “still reviewing options” for the ongoing maintenance of Reserve Road.

“A longer-term solution and maintenance plan for the road has not been determined at this stage,” they said.

“Council is continuing to work with National Parks and Wildlife Service to identify a longer-term solution.”

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