Traffic congestion continues at Union Street

CONGESTION: The traffic building up on Union Street one afternoon this week. RMS says it's working with the council and traffic engineers on traffic flow. Photo: file
CONGESTION: The traffic building up on Union Street one afternoon this week. RMS says it's working with the council and traffic engineers on traffic flow. Photo: file

Despite assurances from Roads and Maritime Services that signal adjustments have been carried out to ease traffic congestion at the Union Street/Sydney Road intersection, the situation has not improved.

Recent observations at various times of the day have shown cars backed up as far as the Gordon Hotel and even further beyond on other occasions.

Motorist Nick Keene said the traffic was backed up to the first tee at the Tully Park Gold Club on a recent Friday about 4.30pm. “It is like Sydney traffic,” he said. 

Other people along Union Street spoke of the traffic congestion. Kelly Gee from the Union Street General Store said the traffic “drags on forever”.

“It is terrible,” she said. “I have thought about going out and selling coffee to people in the street who are parked in their cars, it is that bad.”

Another woman on the street said traffic was regularly stalled as far back as the Gordon Hotel, or about a kilometre-long tailback. “You would have time to duck into the Gordon for a quick schooner while you were waiting in that traffic,” she joked.

A recent letter to The Post by Geoff Gulson said he had seen traffic backed up as far as the Kenmore Street bridge. 

The cause of this traffic chaos is the upgrade of the traffic lights at the intersection, which removed the ‘turn left on red permitted after stopping’ sign. This, coupled with a right-hand lane that says traffic ‘must turn right only,’ means vehicles wishing to move through the intersection are now stuck behind both lanes. 

Member for Goulburn Pru Goward and Mayor Bob Kirk have both “had enough”.

“The traffic problems at Union Street are unacceptable and unsafe,” Ms Goward said. “As I understand it, cars are breaking the law and crossing onto the wrong side of the road to avoid the banked-up traffic.

“I understand the council’s Traffic Committee recommended a pedestrian crossing signal be installed at this set of lights to improve safety of school children crossing. The safety of our school children is obviously paramount, but I understand the council was not aware the intersection would be modified so extensively, causing traffic chaos at peak times.”

“I have made continuous enquiries to the Minister’s office to have this rectified,” Ms Goward said. 

“They are well aware of our frustration. My office was previously advised that signal adjustments had occurred. I have spoken to the Minister and she is aware of our concerns and frustrations. I will continue to follow up.”

Mayor Bob Kirk said traffic congestion continued to be a problem. “I had expected it to be resolved by now, but clearly it is not,” he said. 

“I have told them (RMS management) that there is no point in having further localised discussions. What we need is some action on it. 

“The recent signal adjustments have failed to rectify the problem. We have referred it to their regional office and we are doing all we can to have it addressed.” 

A spokesperson from the RMS said they were “listening to feedback”.

She said the work was an $810,000 upgrade, which had installed a pedestrian crossing and removed the left turn slip lane to Sydney Road.

“RMS has listened to feedback about congestion since the lights were installed and is working with council to identify improvements,” she said.

“Light phasing was adjusted in early June to provide greater green time to the peak flow of traffic.

“RMS will continue to work with council and traffic engineers to determine whether any further changes would improve traffic flow.”