‘We’re locked in our suburb’: Hillsborough residents send eleventh hour postcard plea | photos, video

Michael Nolan, pictured with postcards used in a recent 'eleventh hour pea', has been campaigning to improve safety for the residents of Hillsborough for nearly a decade. Picture: Isaac McIntyre
Michael Nolan, pictured with postcards used in a recent 'eleventh hour pea', has been campaigning to improve safety for the residents of Hillsborough for nearly a decade. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

Eight years ago Michael Nolan began a campaign over concerns regarding an intersection on Hillsborough Road, and now state member for Charlestown Jodie Harrison has taken up the cause.

After a community meeting earlier this month, Ms Harrison called for the government to include funding for road upgrades in the upcoming budget.

Ms Harrison’s call came after a meeting of more than 70 Hillsborough residents gathered to make an “eleventh hour plea” for the state government to allocate funds in the upcoming budget to “upgrade the entrance to [their] suburb”.

The residents’ concerns arise from the main access point to Hillsborough, located at the intersection of Chadwick St and Hillsborough Rd, were ongoing traffic safety issues arise from fast-moving vehicles, often leaving drivers waiting up to 15 minutes to exit in peak hour traffic.

“There are more than 600 residents in the area, plus business and sporting facilities, and that means we see hundreds of cars come in and out of Hillsborough on a daily basis,” Mr Nolan explained.

Residents meet over the concerns surrounding Hillsborough's single access point.

Residents meet over the concerns surrounding Hillsborough's single access point.

“Every single one of them are trying to turn out onto this main arterial road, and we’ve been jumping up and down for nearly two years now. Residents that have to get to work know if we don’t leave before 7.30 we will be waiting in traffic, and people don’t come to visit us because they don’t feel comfortable with tackling the intersection.

“For us, it feels like an entire suburb is being hostage every morning because we can’t turn out of the one road that leads us out of our suburb. We understand its a unique problem because of our one road in and out, but it feels like we’re locked in our suburb.”

Residents at the meeting penned personal postcards to the Minister for Roads Melinda Pavey, with the main focus being on “funding to be set aside in the upcoming budget” for upgrades to improve the safety of the access point.

Sending postcards directly to the minister may seem “gimmicky”, Mr Nolan said, but the “drastic measures” were part of their eleventh hour plea just days before the budget.

“Last year we had similar calls, and we had people backing us, but when the budget rolled around nothing had been done,” he explained. “There are some people that ask us why we’re doing something ‘gimmicky’, but we feel like we have to take drastic measures if we want to be heard.”

Charlestown’s minister Ms Harrison also championed the cause of the Hillsborough residents, taking the problem to the floor of parliament “six times” according to Mr Nolan.

Ms Harrison gave a notice of motion that called on the government to provide funding in the budget on June 19, and for the government to “put money where their mouth is”.

Jodie Harrison has taken up the cause of Hillsborough's residents.

Jodie Harrison has taken up the cause of Hillsborough's residents.

She also revealed she had sighted an early draft of the Lake Macquarie Transport Study, which outlined future plans to upgrade the intersection, as well as the Hillsborough and Macquarie Rd roundabout, with traffic signals.

“I was pleased to be able to tell the people of Hillsborough at the meeting [last week] that the intersection of Hillsborough Rd and Chadwick St was a short term priority to be upgraded,” Ms Harrison said.

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet will deliver the State Budget for 2018/19 on June 19. The announcement will be available at budget.nsw.gov.au.

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