ONE of the Hunter’s busiest intersections has been converted from a roundabout to traffic lights, leaving motorists and MPs hopeful it will ease congestion.
The Weakleys Drive and John Renshaw Drive intersection at Beresfield, which has been undergoing upgrade work since April, was transitioned to traffic lights by Roads and Maritime Services on Sunday.
The intersection links the M1, Pacific Highway, New England Highway and local industrial areas.
The old roundabout was used by about 4000 vehicles per hour in peak periods and often became heavily congested.
Its conversion is part of a larger set of M1 upgrades from the $391.6 million M1 Productivity Package funded by the federal and state governments to improve traffic flow and safety.
Maitland state MP Jenny Aitchison urged motorists to proceed with care in the changed conditions.
“It’s not a roundabout anymore, we actually have the lights in place,” she said on Sunday.
“Hopefully that will improve congestion in this area.”
Wallsend MP Sonia Hornery welcomed the change but said the “bottleneck” that occurs during holiday time would not be solved until the M1 extension was built.
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“The traffic movements on the first full day of use seem to have been positive with constituents reporting that the new setup worked well in most cases,” she said.
"The new intersection won't cure all of the traffic issues that make the [intersection] a nightmare at times, but it should improve traffic flow during normal peak periods.
"Of course the only way to completely relieve the bottleneck at the intersection is with the construction of the M1 extension through the back of Hexham and Tarro to Heatherbrae.
"Works will continue at the intersection for the coming months with changes to some configurations, the timing of the lights and a full rebuild of the road surface at the intersection still being required."