Proposed orbital road back on the table
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council is rolling out community engagement activity for the proposed Orbital Road, confirming Council’s commitment to progress the project through the planning stages.
Mayor Peta Pinson said this was a great step forward in planning for our region’s future transport needs.
“The proposed Orbital Road is a critical piece of infrastructure that will provide a long-term solution for our growth, ensuring future generations can move around Port Macquarie safely and smoothly,” said Mayor Pinson.
With more and more people calling Port Macquarie and the surrounding region home, Council is looking at the proposed Orbital Road to reduce significant congestion, particularly on Lake Road, Ocean Drive and the Oxley Highway. It would also improve connectivity with key business and economic hubs including the airport, the future expanded airport business park and the growing Health and Education Precinct around the Base Hospital and Charles Sturt University.
Council recently conducted a survey with the local community to understand transport related concerns and Mayor Pinson said the views held toward congestion were not surprising.
“What we have learned is that the majority of residents believe that traffic congestion in Port Macquarie is a problem and has become worse in the last five years. What we did find surprising is that congestion is influencing people’s travel behaviour, with around half of respondents saying they have changed the time they travel or used alternate routes to avoid congestion hot spots,” Mayor Pinson said.
“We have a raft of planning underway to ensure we have an integrated transport network that supports our growing community, and whilst the proposed Orbital Road was a key topic of discussion last night, this announcement will not distract Council from the importance of a range of other road improvements and upgrades that we have planned.”
The Orbital Road is proposed as an east-west link (Ocean Drive to Oxley Highway), a north-south link (Oxley Highway to Boundary Street), and a flood-free route to the Port Macquarie Airport. Council noted the many benefits that the road would have for the community, including the provision of a safe and efficient connection for more than 20,000 residents per day, removing through traffic from the inner Port Macquarie area including the Lake Road industrial area. The proposed new road would also reduce travel times and overall travel distances.
Council has completed a number of early studies into the potential route options for an Orbital Road and identified the most viable route, however, as the project is in the early stages of development and the approval process is yet to begin, the final route is yet to be determined.
The various route options have been assessed for potential impacts to the environment, property, community and existing infrastructure. The community’s feedback will influence the Council’s decision on the final route option.
“What we’re doing now is making sure we are talking openly with the community and gathering information to ensure Council can make the best possible decisions about next steps for the project. This will include further investigations, planning and significant investment from the Federal and/or State Government,” Mayor Pinson said.
“We acknowledge that the final route may result in the need for some properties to be acquired in the future. This may cause anxiety for some members of our community and Council is committed to working with property owners, residents and businesses who have the potential to be directly affected by the project.
“We will keep residents, businesses and property owners informed about the project and potential future impacts as we go. Right now, we are in the engagement phase, so I encourage our community to have your say on this important project,” added Mayor Pinson.
Starting 22 November 2018 there will be an opportunity for the community to have their say on the proposed route of the Orbital Road.
The community can find information about how to get involved and provide feedback at https://haveyoursay.pmhc.nsw.gov.au/orbital-road
This article has been republished with permission from the Port Macquarie-Hastings Council.