2019 could be the tale of two roundabouts for the Bathurst region.
Work is set to start today (Wednesday) on a new roundabout at one of the busiest intersections in the Bathurst CBD, while the ongoing fight for a roundabout at the region’s worst intersection should finally come to an end.
CBD motorists have been warned to expect delays for up to three months as the roundabout at the intersection of George and Howick streets is replaced and rebuilt, with the job to include an upgrade of the ageing stormwater drainage that runs beneath the intersection.
The project will also see the removal of poorly placed pedestrian crossings from each exit of the roundabout, to be relocated further down George Street.
It should be a case of short-term pain for long-term gain as those crossings, in particular, are regularly blamed for traffic building up around the roundabout which creates a flow-on effect across the CBD.
But the biggest traffic story of the year (hopefully) will be the start of work on installing a roundabout at the terrible Mitre, Suttor and Lambert street intersection in West Bathurst.
Once the first sod is finally turned, it will mark the end of a 20-year campaign that has seen no less than four independent engineering reports all recommend a roundabout as the best possible solution to traffic confusion in the area.
It will also mark victory for citizen campaigners Kent and Dianne McNab (pictured), who have made it their personal mission to see a roundabout installed for the safety of residents, road users and – most importantly – students at the nearby Assumption School.
The West Bathurst project will create even longer delays for motorists but that’s simply the price we have to pay for a piece of infrastructure that should have been completed years ago.
As it stands, though, most of the time will be spent upgrading infrastructure that runs beneath the intersection, particularly water facilities that date back almost a century.
That work has to be done regardless of whether a roundabout is to be installed, so it only makes sense to kill two birds with one stone.
After fighting for so long for some action at both of these intersections, it’s hard to believe that 2019 should finally prove to be the year that both problems are solved.
Now that’s a new year worth celebrating.