State Member for Wallsend, Ms Sonia Hornery MP, will today move a Notice of Motion in the NSW Parliament calling on the Health and Transport Ministers to do more for the staff and visitors to John Hunter Hospital, who remain trapped in a constant traffic nightmare.
Last year, changes were made to the intersection at Jacaranda Drive and Lookout Road to allow vehicles to turn right. While traffic conditions were light during the COVID-19 lockdowns, a return to normal traffic has shown how ineffective the changes have been.
Staff and visitors to the Hospital are stuck in traffic gridlock on a regular basis and face a daily wait of more than an hour just to exit the Hospital campus. This is occurring at least once a week.
Ms Hornery has written to the Health Minister and Hunter New England Local Health District about the ongoing issue, but in 2019 and 2020 was advised that the changes to the road network would resolve most of the issues. The reality shows a very different story.
Staff have become so fed up with the ongoing delays that they have started their own petition calling for changes to the internal road network and the reinstatement of the shuttle bus from Hunter Stadium during peak hours.
“At least once a week I field dozens of messages and emails from upset staff and visitors to the John Hunter Hospital who are stuck in traffic that is backed up from Lookout Road onto the John Hunter Hospital campus,” Ms Hornery said.
“Since the Government cut the shuttle bus in 2015, the road around the hospital has become completely gridlocked at peak periods of the day.
“This leads to wait times in traffic queues on the Hospital campus in the afternoon of up to an hour or more just to get off the campus.
“This impacts significantly on staff trying to get to school and childcare pickups on time for their children. Parents are often very stressed, not knowing if they will make it in time to collect their children and often they are forced to call around to see who might be able to help them out.
“The time for excuses and pinning hopes on very minor traffic changes fixing the issue is over. Staff know it, I know it. The one thing that is guaranteed to get traffic off the road is to give staff options to park and ride from Hunter Stadium.
“I will be moving a Notice of Motion today calling on both Ministers to put a service in place immediately,” said Ms Hornery.