McCauley’s Beach: Road plan under fire

Murray Jones and Linda Cortie from the Thirroul Village Committee say the lack of a southern access to the McCauley’s Beach development will spell disaster for northern residents. Picture: ANDY ZAKELIA Wollongong City Council proposal to close the Sturdee Avenue bridge to traffic and leave only one road in and out of the McCauley’s Beach development has angered residents in Thirroul.
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Members of the Thirroul Village Committee claim having Wrexham Road as the sole access point will spell disaster for the 10,000 residents already dealing with heavy traffic congestion.

The council put forward a proposal earlier this year to use the bridge as a temporary southern entry and exit to the Stockland-built estate, until a permanent southern access, planned to run through a separate development site, could be built.

But residents of Sturdee and Beattie avenues claimed having traffic cross the narrow, single lane bridge posed too much of a risk to motorists and nearby residents.

They urged the council to close the bridge to cars and retain it as a pedestrian walkway only.

The council last month agreed with the residents and signalled its intention to allow only people and bicycles to use the bridge from early next year.

But the move has led the Thirroul Village Committee to claim the council was not acting fairly and had “failed to take into account safety issues of greater total significance”.

Committee spokesman Murray Jones said the lack of a southern access point would cause significant issues for people living north of Bulli Pass.

“Currently all traffic leaving Thirroul to the south has to go via the bottom of Bulli Pass,” he said.

“One major road accident at the bottom of the pass can lock up the sole southerly route out of Thirroul.

“Keeping the Sturdee Avenue bridge open will provide a long-overdue, alternate emergency route out of Thirroul.”

Wollongong City Council said yesterday it was consulting with the community on the access to McCauley’s Beach Estate.

A spokesman said extensive investigations had looked at various ways traffic could be managed on the Sturdee Avenue bridge, including two-way, one-way and shared pedestrian-vehicle traffic.

“Increasing vehicle traffic volumes via Sturdee Avenue bridge is not a suitable option due to a range of safety concerns including restricted sight lines, narrow roads, established culture of pedestrians, and the capacity of the existing bridge,” the spokesman said.

“While it may be considered more convenient to allow traffic to access Sturdee Ave, safety … is of greater importance.”

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