Dapto residents riled over road plan

Council plans will transform Western Ave, Dapto say residents Ben, 18-month-old Charli and Hayley Arnold. Picture: MELANIE RUSSELLResidents of a quiet Dapto cul-de-sac say Wollongong City Council’s plans to make their street a main thoroughfare to Horsley and West Dapto will affect their house prices and increase noise in their neighbourhood.

At a public meeting on Saturday, dozens of angry Western Avenue and Marshall Street residents said they were not told of plans to build the road linking their two streets as part of the West Dapto Access Strategy.

The council purchased a house at 116 Marshall Street which will be demolished to make way for the road.

Councillors signed off on the $450,000 price tag at their May 28 meeting.

Western Avenue resident Hayley Arnold said she and her husband Ben were outraged that the council had bought the property without first consulting surrounding residents.

She said the proposed road would dramatically change the environment, making it unsafe for residents and children walking to nearby Dapto High School.

“We bought a house in this cul-de-sac for our kids so it’s nice and quiet for them to play out the front,” Ms Arnold said.

“If they build a road there, there will be so much traffic, it will be unsafe and the ambience of our whole street will be gone.”

Marshall Street residents’ group spokeswoman Fiona Abercrombie said prices of houses in the area would drop by about $30,000.

However, the council’s infrastructure director, Peter Kofod, said the proposal was designed to help Western Avenue residents, because increased traffic generated from developments in West Dapto would make Cleveland Road far busier.

To increase safety for motorists, he said it was proposed to install a “left turn only” out of Western Avenue on to Cleveland Road and bar any vehicles turning right into the avenue.

“If we installed the ‘left turn only’ out of Western Avenue and didn’t give residents another way out of the street, they would have to turn on to Cleveland Road, travel half a kilometre down to the roundabout and drive back up Cleveland Road to get to the highway. By putting a new access road linking Western Avenue and Marshall Road, residents can now get to the highway without having to go along Cleveland Road,” he said.

At Saturday’s meeting, residents proposed alternative plans which included blocking off the Cleveland Road end of Western Avenue.

A council spokesman said the council would continue to consult with residents and would hold a public information session in a few weeks’ time.

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