THE accident-prone intersection of Hill and Dalton streets will be improved with a new roundabout thanks to $360,000 from the state government’s black spot program.
Eight people were injured in nine crashes at the intersection between 2006 and 2011.
Long-time Hill Street resident Colin Shields said his wife helped accident victims from the scene of a crash at the intersection earlier in the year, in which a car spun out on impact from another vehicle.
“With the amount of accidents and near-misses on this corner and the speed, I hope the roundabout will slow them down,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to the traffic calming down.”
Member for Orange Andrew Gee announced the funding yesterday, despite the state government’s contribution to the roundabout being factored into the council’s budget as early as August 27.
Despite this, Mr Gee said the $360,000 was new funding from the government.
“[Hill Street] is the main artery leading out to north Orange,” he said.
“Not only is it very busy, it’s very confusing for motorists. There are arrows all over the road, people are confused about who has the right of way.
“You can still see glass on the road at the moment from accidents.”
Mr Gee said the funding was an example of the NSW government working with the council on a road that was not the state government’s responsibility.
“We do recognise local councils can’t do it all by themselves,” he said.
Traffic Committee chair Cr Russell Turner said he saw the roundabout as the beginning of a major upgrade program for Orange’s roads.
“I believe the new council will make roads their top priority,” he said.
“I’ll be pushing council for all the extra funds we can find ... we need to see what’s in the nooks and crannies and piggy-bank and take advantage of the spring season.”
Mr Shields said he hoped the roundabout was built to the same standards as the intersection of Hill and Prince Streets.
Infrastructure Policy Committee chair Cr Reg Kidd agreed, saying it was important the road could withstand the pressure of trucks turning.
He said the Prince Street intersection had a similar history of accidents until the roundabout was built.
“I really believe that the next part is to start shaking every pocket we can,” he said.
“The roads that need fixing are William Street, Peisley Street and the distributor and just everywhere where the roads are breaking up.
“I will hold every councillor to it, the survey [in the lead-up to election] showed the biggest issues are roads, footpaths and kerb and guttering.”
Cr Turner said council should be “shaking all the squeaky doors” of the state and federal government for more funds.
“Council blamed the winter for not being able to do anything [about roads] now is the time to get really serious,” he said.
“We need to rebuild the roads and rebuild them properly.”
According to the council’s works report, as of August 27, geotechnical consulting engineers had begun excavating test holes into the road surface and developing a design for the single-lane roundabout.
Work on the roundabout is expected to be completed by the end of the year, weather permitting.