New roundabouts: Are they in the right place?

A grant of $400,000 for two roundabouts in Katoomba and Blackheath has left locals puzzled about the locations chosen.

Wilson and Megalong streets, Katoomba: Location for one of the new roundabouts to be funded with a state government grant.

Wilson and Megalong streets, Katoomba: Location for one of the new roundabouts to be funded with a state government grant.

Wentworth and Prince George streets, Blackheath. Site of another roundabout. The dog park is behind the trees on the right.

Wentworth and Prince George streets, Blackheath. Site of another roundabout. The dog park is behind the trees on the right.

The state government grant will build a roundabout at Megalong and Wilson streets, Katoomba ($225,000) and at Prince George and Wentworth streets, Blackheath ($175,000).

A spokesman for the Blackheath Alliance, Michael Paag, said while they welcomed the focus on road safety, “we call on council and RMS to release the crash data/traffic analysis to justify why this intersection was chosen”. 

“We need a co-ordinated approach to road safety along Wentworth Street which includes the school and town precincts.

“The Blackheath Alliance believes funding for the proposed roundabout would be better spent on a co-ordinated approach to addressing road safety along Wentworth Street including school zone flashing warning signs and speed calming measures,” Mr Paag said.

Fitzroy St and Gladstone Rd, Leura: The intersection outside the International Hotel School and en route to Sublime Point, the golf course and Fairmont is to get improvement works done.

Fitzroy St and Gladstone Rd, Leura: The intersection outside the International Hotel School and en route to Sublime Point, the golf course and Fairmont is to get improvement works done.

The Katoomba location provoked much comment on Facebook, with many suggesting that Yeaman Bridge was a higher priority.

Tony Holgate posted: “Nice, but when will we address the bottleneck that is Yeaman bridge?”

Lauren Griffin added: “If you needed a roundabout it should be on Lovel and Wilson street. That’s more of a main thoroughfare than Megalong/Wilson St.”

In response to the Blue Mountains Gazette’s inquiry, Upper House MP Shayne Mallard said council had nominated the sites and the RMS assessed them. 

“Projects are prioritised based on their potential to reduce fatalities and serious injuries per dollar spent and targeted at the most critical safety issues on the NSW road network,” he said.

Council said the process for choosing locations was “purely of a technical nature and involves crash data analysis and treatment costings”.

But it would not release the data. A spokeswoman said: “Crash data analysis is not considered in isolation and therefore will not be made available.”

Meanwhile, the traffic reports into the entrances to Katoomba and Springwood are progressing. The Gazette most recently reported that both council and the RMS said they were waiting information from the other.

This was accurate at the time but three days after council issued its statement, the RMS did ask for more information.

An exasperated mayor, Mark Greenhill, said he was “frustrated” by the toing and froing.

“We just need to get on and do this. One hopes, when we supply this further material, the interminable tennis match ceases, and the job gets done.”