Nepean Avenue residents raise more path concerns as Council appoints contractor

Nepean Avenue resident, John Mulder. Photo: Emily Chate.
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A concerned resident on Nepean Avenue claims a pertinent document was withheld from Councillors regarding the street’s controversial proposed pathway.

John Mulders, who lives on Nepean Avenue, has recently become aware of a Concept Design Road Safety Audit that is dated September 19 2023, one week before Councillors endorsed the pathway at their September 25 meeting.

The proposed pathway is intended to reduce incidents on the famous bridge-to-bridge walk, which goes through Nepean Avenue.

Mulders expressed that he does not believe that safety was the driving force behind the endorsement of this project.

“Nepean Avenue has a perfect record, there has never been an accident, never been an incident,” Mulders said.

Mulders predicts that reducing the width of the road to fit the pathway will increase the number of accidents.

“Once you cut a street in half, or into thirds, it puts a lot more pressure onto what’s left, and you are going to have more accidents,” Mulders said.

The Concept Design Road Safety Audit found multiple times that the safety of those using Nepean Avenue was not likely to be improved.

“This safety concern is exacerbated when motorists are required to reverse from their property. Consequently, motorists may collide with a pedestrian at a low speed,” the Audit said.

“Motorists may reverse onto the path and strike a pedestrian.”

The proposed pathway on Nepean Avenue.

Mulders said the already implemented changes do enough to protect pedestrians.

“Our Council has already changed the road to better protect walkers with speed humps, no parking on the eastern side, and the speed is going to be dropped to 30km per hour,” he said.

A spokesperson for Penrith City Council said the report would not have had any effect on the outcome of the vote for the implementation of the pathway.

“Assertions made that a report was withheld and the outcome of Councillors’ decision on the Nepean Avenue pathway would have been different is incorrect,” the spokesperson said.

“The intent of the draft report was not to determine feasibility or the need for the path, rather the need for the path was informed by a separate independent road safety audit completed in February 2023.

“The purpose of the draft report that Mr Mulders refers to was to provide direction and clarifications to inform the Request for Tender release to market; it was used to guide the detailed design to ensure compliance requirements are met.”

Meanwhile, Council this week appointed Axial Constructions Pty Ltd the detailed design and construction contract for construction of the pathway.

A detailed design is now being prepared by Axial Constructions, with this work to be informed by the community feedback received during consultation last year. Construction is expected to start by mid 2024.

“Not only will we see significant improvements to pedestrian safety with the delivery of this new pathway, but the missing link on the popular Bridge to Bridge loop of the Great River Walk will also finally be realised,” Penrith Mayor Todd Carney said.

“Council is looking forward to working closely with Axial Constructions to finalise the design and ensure the smooth delivery of this project for Nepean Avenue residents and regular users of the Great River Walk.”

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