Clarence Valley Independent

Witonga Drive roundabout off the table … for now

Geoff Helisma |

During the significant debate and community interest about how to manage traffic – lights or roundabout – at the Treelands Drive / Yamba Road intersection, Cr Peter Ellem drew attention to a roundabout strategically planned for the intersection of Witonga Drive and Yamba Road.

During debate at the August 2 Clarence Valley Council (CVC) meeting last year he said that the Yamba Quays estate was “conditioned on the construction of a roundabout” at the intersection.

He also drew attention to the strategically planned “Yamba urban bypass”, which when initially planned was to start at that intersection and continue eastwards, south of Yamba Road, and eventually meet up with Coldstream Street.

The Independent asked CVC for an interview with Environment and Community director Des Schroder to clarify the situation; however, he declined and instead provided two statements (a week apart), the first of which said: “At this stage the 42-lot [Yamba Quays] release does not require the construction of a roundabout.

“If there is further development a roundabout will be needed.”

Meanwhile, at the February 2012 CVC meeting, councillors were then, too, discussing what to do at the Treelands Drive intersection.

Staff advised at the time that they “have been in negotiations with the owner of Yamba Quays [the estate has since changed hands] … in relation to a condition of consent requiring the construction of a roundabout and roadway [Witonga Drive] connecting the estate to Yamba Road west of Orion Drive.

“Although the roundabout is not required until development reaches the connecting road [Witonga Drive], the developer has previously indicated they would like to proceed earlier.

“The construction of this roundabout and particularly its timing is pertinent as it is anticipated that a substantial amount of traffic from West Yamba would use this route in preference to Treelands Drive.”

After seeking further clarification regarding the Yamba urban bypass, Mr Schroder provided the following statement: “At the moment Witonga Drive does not need additional treatment and the timing and design of work there will depend when the Yamba Quays development and when it proceeds to the next stages of development.

“Under the DA it is not needed for the 42 lots released to date.

“The need to upgrade Treelands Drive is approaching the critical stage, so it is the priority.”

In April 2017, CVC applied for a grant from the NSW Government’s Growing Local Economies Fund.

On February 1 this year, Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis announced that CVC had won a $4.4 million grant to build roundabouts at the Treelands Drive, Carrs Drive and Shores Drive intersections with Yamba Road and at the Yamba Street and Yamba Road intersection on Palmers Island.

Mr Schroder said: “Council is working on the detailed design for [Treelands Drive] … Carrs Drive and Shores Drive intersections now.

“Under the grant funding arrangements from the NSW Government, those intersections will need to be done within about two years.

“Along with the section [of the Yamba urban bypass, Deering Street) already constructed to the industrial area from Angourie Road, the Shores Drive intersection has always been part of the Yamba bypass plan.

“Implementing future sections of the Yamba bypass plan will depend on traffic growth volumes. From the traffic studies the existing Yamba Road upgrade, with the above treatments (roundabouts), will cater for the foreseeable traffic volumes.”

At the August 2018 CVC meeting, Mr Schroder indicated that the bypass section between Angourie Road and Coldstream St is unlikely to be constructed due to flora and fauna constraints and that there were similar constraints at the Oyster Cove wetland.

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