Can you imagine railway gates on a busy Sydney road as arterially important as the road passing through Adamstown railway gates? This crossing has been seriously disrupting traffic for many years and the disruption has increased in line with traffic counts since the nearby suburb of Kotara has hosted huge retail developments and expansions. I'm one of the thousands of Novocastrians caught by the gates for perhaps one in three crossings and I'm weary of it. Delays often exceed 10 minutes, queues of vehicles extend hundreds of metres, and in morning peak hours the gates are down for more than a third of the time.
Long-held plans for an overpass of the railway line at Adamstown were ditched by the Labor government under the watch of Bryce Gaudry when its seat of Newcastle had an unassailable margin of 22.4 per cent, and when the land that had been resumed for the purpose was sold any hope of an overpass was lost.
Might not, though, the new Liberal member for Newcastle, Tim Owen, and his government offer new hope? Mr Owen told me this week that he is pushing for a freight bypass of Newcastle to be included in a NSW transport plan we'll hear something about in the next few weeks, and he's right when he says removing freight trains from the line would greatly ease the problem. The RTA estimated four years ago that diverting freight trains would reduce the total delay at the gates to a third, or about 2.2 hours in 24 hours.
Tim Owen says, too, that if a freight-train bypass is to be too distant he will lobby Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian to give the highest priority to easing the chaos at the Adamstown gates.
Let's give the new government a list of traffic-fix priorities. What are our worst traffic problems?