Call for second Ferry at Webbs Creek to solve traffic congestion
Every weekend, and even during the week, traffic is snarling up from Webbs Creek Ferry and causing chaos on surrounding roads as drivers queue for as long as 45 minutes to make the five minute crossing.
Stephen Brown, President of the MacDonald Valley Association told the Post Hawkesbury MP Robyn Preston needed to get more involved in helping find ways to get the problem sorted out. He also singled out the RMS as an organisation which needed to play a bigger role in solving the issue.
“There’s no doubt the RMS need to step up and do more. There’s also the issue of several different councils being involved – including Hawkesbury and the Hills – and that doesn’t always make for great outcomes either,” said Mr Brown.
This morning by 11.30am, traffic was snaking back up Old Northern Road and locals were taking to Facebook with a mixture of alternative routes – some of which take drivers a long way around – and calls for a second ferry.
“There’s no doubt more people are visiting the area,” said Mr Brown, “and that’s having an impact. But it’s also down to the smaller ferry being used at the moment while the slightly larger ferry is in for maintenance.”
Around 18 vehicles can use the Webbs Creek ferry at one time – less if trucks or buses need to use it.
Facebook user Andrew Barker said this morning he believed a second ferry was the only answer.
“If we can build the Harbour Bridge in 1932 I think we can build ferry ramps in 2020,” he said.
Del Rio Resort visitors also have an effect on ferries in the area, and on weekends visitor numbers rise quickly, especially over the last few months as Covid restrictions have seen people holiday closer to home.
Locals are taking to Facebook, each with their own route around the congestion, but it takes time to go around.
Hawkesbury Police’s Senior Constable Bill Andrews who is based at the Wiseman’s Ferry police station, says the management of the ferry queue is the joint responsibility of the RMS and the specific local government area, depending on where the queue is. It could be the responsibility of Hawkesbury Council, The Hills Shire Council, Central Coast Council, or Hornsby Council.
“As most of us are aware, the build-up of traffic on the Webbs Creek Ferry eastern approach is impacting severely on River Road and Old Northern Road,” said SC Andrews in a post explaining the issues.
“Whilst this used to occur for short periods on the odd public holiday, it is now becoming a common occurrence on weekends and causing a number of issues in regards to safety, comfort, public, and emergency vehicle access.”
On November 4, a meeting was held between police, representatives from the RMS, TONO Group – who run the ferry - and The Hills Shire Council.
“The position of police and RMS is that the queuing process for the Webbs Creek Ferry should occur southbound along River Road, utilising the existing turn-around areas in an effort to decrease traffic congestion on both roads, ensure safer and legal vehicle passing and increasing workplace safety for the ferry operators,” SC Williams said.
Hills Shire Council will make the ultimate decision on whether that change should be permanent.
“For those who are affected by this commonplace issue of congestion, you may wish to consider writing representations to the Hills Shire Council and the local member, expressing your views. This is a community wide issue that will benefit from community input,” said SC Williams.
We’ve asked MP Robyn Preston for her feedback, and we will bring that to you when we have it.