Cessnock wins with Government road funding


Since 2010 the Cessnock Local Government Area has received in excess of $60 million in road and bridges funding grants.

The first big grant was for $20 Million to rebuild Broke Road, McDonalds Road from Wine Country Drive to the intersection of Hermitage Road in Pokolbin. This has been topped up by a further $16 million to complete the Broke Road/Hermitage Road intersection and upgrade of Hermitage Road through the New England Highway at Belford. This road also includes a cycle way. This brings Wine Country road works to more than $36 million.

On top of this the State Government has allocated funding to upgrade feeder roads for the Hunter Expressway. Work has been undertaken on Lovedale Road and Buchanan Road. (While much more needs to be done on both these roads the funding is welcome).

Lemmings Corner on the old North Road south of Wollombi has been rebuilt for safer road use. This was under the Federal Government Black Spot program. Funding has also been provided for the rebuild of the intersection at Duffy Drive and Maitland Road Cessnock (yet to start).

Many new bridges have been rebuilt due to funding from the Country Bridge Renewal scheme. These include Milgang Bridge at Ellalong, Vermont Bridge at Mulbring, Frame Drive Bridge, Lomas Lane, Crawford Bridge, Congewai, Watagan Creek, Paynes Crossing, Murrays Run and many more.

Forster’s Bridge on Sandy Creek Road is to be replaced with Government money ($2 Million) and the latest announcement of a $4.45 million grant to upgrade Frame Drive adds to the funding from the current State Government and Federal Government.

And further to this there is $17 million in the pipeline to upgrade Testers Hollow to increase the flood threshold of this road.

This all from the Coalition Government into safe Labor seats.

New Lower Hunter Regional Hospital

(Not a new Maitland Hospital)
The site currently selected by the NSW Government on the PGH site at East Maitland does not meet most of the criteria outlined by HNE health in their community briefings
Things that should have been considered when locating a New Hospital in the Lower Hunter are:
Some other locations that could be looked at;
1.Branxton, new Huntlee town development. 20,000 residents over the next twenty years including new residential developments on the border of Singleton at East Branxton.
Greta, Lochinvar area between Hunter Expressway off ramps and access to railway. Note these Ramps are only for south bound traffic. More than 5,000 new residents over next couple of years. Plus new developments at West Maitland.
2. Hydro Smelter buffer zone at Loxford, This site is located 3km west of the Kurri Kurri/ Maitland interchange on Hunter Expressway and at present has a South bound Interchange only. This site has only just become available (May 2014) due to the closure of the Smelter. The area has current bus services, to Newcastle, Morisset and Maitland railway stations by Rover Motors bus service. It also has rail access although at this present time only coal haulage is conducted. Passenger trains have not run since 1960s. The site is only 15 minutes from Maitland Private Hospital. The Kurri Kurri district expects a further 4,000 new residents over the next couple of years.
The New Lower Hunter Hospital should be located at a location that an Ambulance at the Hexham Bridge or Morisset, in making a call could be directed to John Hunter Hospital or the newly located Lower Hunter Hospital.
Distances from Hexham to; John Hunter: 17km 22min
Greta: 40km 39 min
Branxton: 45km 44 min
Hydro Smelter buffer zone Loxford: 25km 24 min
The Hunter Expressway has opened up untold opportunities for the population of the broader Hunter region.

The site presently selected by the NSW Government on the PGH site at East Maitland does not meet any of the criteria outlined by HNE health in their community briefings (Dr. Sue Carter)
Things to ask when considering locating a New Hospital in the Lower Hunter are.
1. The location should have a flood free location with flood free access,
2. Should have public transport access.
3. Plenty of car parking, (free or at a reasonable cost)
4. Close to Hunter Expressway
5. Site not undermined
6. Availability of Power, Water and Gas
7. Within 40 minutes of Newcastle CBD
8. Newcastle Uni Medical School 30 minutes
9. Good access to all Hunter Valley Towns, Port Stevens and Central Coast towns.
10. Away from heavy rail (coal) corridor
The Loxford Hydro site on the Hunter Expressway meets all of the above criteria.
The Loxford site was for many years in the State seat of Maitland but is now located in the seat of Cessnock but close to the boundary with Maitland and has flood free access to Maitland via Bishops Bridge and Buchanan during flooding events.
There is a 50 h+ site in the Hydro buffer zone land next to the Hart Road Interchange that could be used as a Lower Hunter Hospital site, with room for a Private Hospital and an Emergency Service Precinct
Maitland through to Kurri Kurri is recognised as a major growth corridor in the Hunter Regional plan 2016.
Negatives for the Metford site:
The access to the hospital site is not flood free as proven in the past couple of years with the intersection of NEH under water at the Good Guys and under water at the railway underpass.
It is on a contaminated site under remediation and is opposite the old Maitland Rubbish dump at Fields end Oval.
The road access if approved will be a nightmare, even by John Hunter standards as there are residential estates under construction off Raymond Terrace Road and congestion is guaranteed.
It is beside the railway line which allows for over 100 million tonnes of coal to be transported to the Newcastle Port