The Bonny Hills Progress Association has been left "disappointed" and "concerned" after "no concrete plan" for an overpass at Houston Mitchell Drive is in the works.
A petition calling for an overpass was started by the progress association after 82-year-old local man Ian Parker was killed in an accident at the Houston Mitchell Drive and Pacific Highway intersection in May.
The petition received over 10,000 signatures and was tabled in parliament by Port Macquarie MP Leslie Williams on August 21.
The Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Jenny Aitchison has recently responded to the petition and thanked the petitioners for their "strong advocacy on this issue".
"I am advised that in 2023 Transport for NSW implemented some minor upgrades to address safety concerns and improve sight lines at the intersection," she said.
"Those upgrades are part of a staged approach towards an ultimate treatment at the intersection. I understand works already completed include providing acceleration and deceleration lanes and electronic warning signs."
Minister Aitchison said in June Transport for NSW (TfNSW) undertook additional data collection and that "investigations for additional upgrades for the intersection are being considered".
"The investigations are likely to identify staging options, with initial stages potentially reducing some movements at the intersection in the shorter," she said.
"Grade separation is an option being explored in the longer term."
Minister Aitchison said the implementation of future upgrades is dependent on investment prioritisation, funding availability and relevant environmental approvals.
Vice president of the Bonny hills Progress Association Kathy Reagan said the group had been "keeping a close eye" on what the minister was going to say after the petition had been tabled.
"We have been taken back a bit by the response and we're trying to regroup at the moment and work out how we approach this now," she said.
"We are disappointed that there hasn't been anything specific [towards installing an overpass].
"Nothing in that response was anything new to us."
Member for Port Macquarie, Leslie Williams said she is disappointed that Minister Aitchison has not made any commitment of funding for planning an overpass despite tabling the petition with 16,268 signatures on August 21 and debating it in parliament on September 21.
"This is an issue that has been discussed for a number of years with progress made in 2022 with the $2.9 million safety improvements completed by the former Liberals and Nationals Government," Mrs Williams said.
"I congratulate the Bonny Hills Progress Association for taking up the challenge of attracting so many people to sign the petition."
Mrs Williams said while the Minister acknowledged the strength of the petition, her response didn't include any commitment for planning for an overpass.
"Sadly I am not aware of any funding in the recent budget for this critical step forward," she said.
Minister Aitchison said Mrs Williams and her Liberal and national colleagues had 12 years in government to build an overpass at the intersection.
"It's been seven months since the Minns Labor Government was elected and we have been working through a series of serious challenges we have inherited from the former government, including the largest debt bill ever handed from one government to another," she said.
"I met with members of the Bonny Hills Progress Association members when I was the Shadow Minister and encouraged them to start their petition which was recently debated in the NSW Parliament."
Ms Aitchison said TfNSW is working with Port Macquarie-Hastings Council to look at ways funding can be obtained to develop strategic concepts for important Pacific Highway connections.
"Future upgrades to Houston Mitchell Drive will be considered as part of the ongoing planning for upgrades on the Pacific Highway corridor, along with other key connections to growth areas."
Minister Aitchison said she will ensure TfNSW keep the community informed of progress on the issue.
"I will also write to the Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development of Australia and Local Government, the Hon Catherine King and the Federal Assistant Minister for Infrastructure, Senator the Hon Carol Brown to draw their attention to the issues," she said.
Ms Reagan said the progress association will continue calling for safety improvements at the intersection.
"We intend to continue pushing for the things that we've asked for, which is looking at funding and initial planning stages [for an overpass]," she said.
"We're certainly not going to just leave it at this. Not having anything concrete come from the petition is a concern."
IN OTHER NEWS: