Right turn? Opening up River Street in Macksville

Right turn? Opening up River Street in Macksville

Most of us would have faced this situation: you're cruising along the western side of Macksville's River St to find a park only to come up dry. You've already passed Wallace Lane and now you're faced with one of two options - commit to a hurried and questionable U-turn, or continue turning left onto the bridge, taking you out of town.

When Cooper St stood as the Pacific Highway, the 'No Right Turns' at this intersection were an unfortunate but necessary inconvenience, as heavy queues of traffic snaked through the town.

But since Macksville's bypass the local Chamber of Commerce has been asking whether the time is right for an about-turn on the issue.

"This is extremely important, not just for place making, but for the survival of local businesses. With the pandemic, more than ever, we need to consider how businesses have been impacted for many, many years, and it is time to bring this to an end," the Chamber wrote in a request to the Local Traffic Committee in June.

The Chamber asserted that there was significant community backing behind the proposal to open up the intersection.

Previously the possibility of installing a roundabout at the Cooper/River St intersection was floated. But after investigation it was deemed logistically unfeasible.

There's just not enough room for large vehicles to manoeuvre around a roundabout at the intersection.

There's just not enough room for large vehicles to manoeuvre around a roundabout at the intersection.

Council papers noted that NSW Police had also put in an objection to opening up the intersection.

After talks with Traffic for NSW (formerly RMS) and a lengthy deferral of the matter, it was finally added to the agenda at last Thursday's council meeting.

With no discussion, councillors voted to allow a 12-month trial period to "open Giinagay Way (Cooper Street) and River Street intersection to all traffic movements for vehicles less than 8.8m in length".

Traffic will also be able to travel through from one half of River St to the other.

Funding for the removal of the blisters and installation of new signs will come from TfNSW, who still own the road.

Funding for the removal of the blisters and installation of new signs will come from TfNSW, who still own the road.

No date has been given yet as to when the concrete "blisters" would be removed and new signs put in place to mark the start of the trial traffic conditions, but Council General Manager Michael Coulter said it was not likely to happen before the end of the year.

He said there were still a few reservations that there might be congestion created on the bridge from people queueing behind those waiting to turn right into River St.

"But I don't think the traffic volume will be an issue since the bypass," he said.

"On the whole I think it will be well-received by everyone - locals and visitors alike."

Chamber president Barry Reed was delighted by council's decision, chalking the 12-month trial up as a "win ... sort of".

"This has been a long battle since Macksville was bypassed, but we have been rewarded," he said.

"Special thanks go to Michael Coulter at council for his persistence and assistance.

"Let's hope it doesn't take long to get the blisters down.

"Let's also hope this helps the businesses in River Street and Princess Street to get more exposure."

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