Blaxland’s ‘road that time forgot’ will finally be fully sealed more than four decades after it opened, following strong representations by Ward 4 councillors on behalf of residents concerned about a dangerous bend.
Elton John’s classic song Rocket Man was a top 10 hit when Laurie Willis built his family’s home on Boynton Street between Glen Street and Ross Crescent. He recalls thinking at the time “gee, this street needs a bit of bitumen”.
In 1972 the road was sealed to a width of about five metres, leaving a 400 square metre loose gravel shoulder along its length, extending to established kerbs and gutters to the south.
Residents are worried by the narrowness of the road’s sealed section on a sharp corner with Glen Street.
“When you go there you literally see half a road,” Clr Mark Greenhill said at the February 19 council meeting.
“Sir William McMahon was prime minister when this road was built — since 1972 residents have been waiting for this street to be finished.
“My view is I don’t think it is a good way to manage risk to say we will wait for an accident to happen, then act.”
Clr Anton Von Shulenburg said the gravel is a hazard to cyclists, “[but] it takes only one driver that is unfamiliar with the conditions for an accident to occur”.
A council report stated no accidents had occurred on the road, but it acknowledged Boynton Street has “an inconsistent road environment” that results in traffic following the narrow sealed pavement, limiting sight distance to oncoming traffic.
While it revealed realigning and sealing the entire section of road would cost $30,000 with the added benefit of improving the quality of stormwater runoff, the report advised council’s road shoulder resealing program is not funded until 2018 and Boynton Street could only “be considered in future funding options”.
The road was overlooked in council’s 2012-13 unsealed roads program which has a capital budget of $1.5 million and the road reseal program which has a current financial year budget of $2,195,257.
Boynton Street resident Rodney James “it is a matter of time before someone has an accident [at the Boynton/Glen corner] and while this resealing will cost $30,000, I don’t know how much the litigation is going to cost [in the event of an accident]”.
His wife, Carol Byrnes-James, said seven homes have driveways near the corner, calling it “a common thoroughfare, but a risky one”.
Councillors unanimously supported a motion by Clrs Greenhill and Von Shulenburg that will see the required works on Boynton Street undertaken in 2013-14 with appropriate funds allocated, with a report coming back by June 30, 2014 should any barriers to the project’s completion arise.
Mr Willis told the Gazette after the meeting he is satisfied because “it looks like it will happen”.
“It’s a credit to Clrs Greenhill and Von Shulenburg — they did the hard yards and it got through with the support of the other councillors.”