Our Say: Plan for four lanes is on a road to nowhere

Motorists may feel they have been stuck in traffic longer than it took Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) to give a red light to a plan to make Dubbo’s Cobra Street a four-lane road.

They probably haven’t but the RMS response came at high speed.

The RMS said there were no plans to change the street – part of the Mitchell Highway and one of Dubbo’s main thoroughfares – from the existing two lanes to four.

The idea was raised on Friday by Greg Mohr and Dayne Gumley, who are candidates in the September elections for the Dubbo Regional Council.

Mr Mohr would like to see four lanes from Sheraton Road to Darling Street and believed it could be done without sacrificing roadside parking but by removing the large median strips.

Some residents raced off from the starting line, enthusiastically backing the proposal on social media and asking why vehicle-heavy Cobra Street had ever been made a road with only a single lane of traffic in each direction.

Around 25 years ago the street had two lanes in each direction. It was changed to improve safety and reduce crashes. The RMS says that has been effective.

Most social media comments favoured going back to the future and a Daily Liberal opinion poll showed 85.57 per cent of respondents thought the candidates’ idea had merit.

Residents believed the change could not be introduced quick enough and it would be an effective way of moving traffic faster and removing a bottleneck.

But, there are some speed bumps. The centre of the road provides lanes for safer turns into side streets. Changing from four to two lanes at Darling Street has the potential to create a bottleneck right at the CBD.

The LH Ford bridge, a short distance away, is another bottleneck.

The RMS position means traffic will continue to snake along the ins and outs of Cobra Street and the Mitchell Highway in two lanes. But, it said it would continue to work with council to monitor congestion and safety on the road.

Mr Mohr and Mr Gumley say if elected they will push for the DRC and the RMS to work together to make the plan happen.

The city’s traffic problems and delays are not huge. Safety issues are paramount.

The four lane plan could be on a road to nowhere.


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