Plan to open Maitland Mall to traffic

MAITLAND drivers could go west under a new plan to open the Maitland Heritage Mall to traffic.

Staff have recommended a plan that would let westbound traffic through the mall at low speed before turning into Elgin Street.

If adopted, the plan could put wheels in motion to returning drivers to the mall.

A report outlining the assessment by consultants GHD and council staff is due to go before councillors on Tuesday.

The document outlines five proposals that were weighed on their accessibility as well as the work required to integrate them with the existing road network.

The supported westbound plan linking with Elgin Street was considered the best of those plans, which included three models running traffic east.

A second westbound option connecting to Church Street was also deemed inferior.

‘‘[The recommended Elgin Street option] has high ease of re-entry to the mall as a result of a shorter west loop,’’ a report to councillors states.

‘‘It also allows for entry to the mall from Bulwer Street.’’

General manager David Evans said the council was closing in on ‘‘what many would recognise as the more interesting phase of the exercise’’, with a design tender expected to be chosen next week as well.

The traffic flow plan was chosen in consultation with the Vibrant River City Reference Panel, a group of 24 residents and business representatives.

Mayor Peter Blackmore said that group’s support for the recommended plan was important, with community input paramount to such a major change to Maitland’s core.

The project could be completed as early as mid-2013.

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