Danger still lurks after Marlborough Road fence comes down


It was the fence that lasted 14 days. Now residents have forced its removal – but they are still at risk from the road it was designed to keep them from crossing.

The long-running saga of Strathfield Council’s battle to win a crossing or walkway over busy Marlborough Road and under the six-lane Centenary Drive – the responsibility of the state government – took a new twist when the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) demanded the erection of a fence along the route.

The idea was to stop Austin Park residents crossing to a tunnel under Centenary Drive on their way to Sydney Markets or Flemington train station.

But RMS only gave enough funds to fence part of the road.

Within days, the fence became a folly. Residents simply went around or over it. According to council officials, residents were on the road for a longer period of time after the fence was erected then before, putting them in even more danger.Eventually, there were so many complaints council had to pull it down to ensure pedestrain safety.

Without full funding and a complete fence, it represented an even bigger danger.

Now a councillor has hit out at the waste.

The exercise was funded by a $77,000 grant from RMS, which was a fraction of the $360,000 requested to improve safety in the Courallie Avenue precinct.

But a community backlash and a motion at last month’s council meeting by Councillor Raj Datta brought the barricade down.

Councillor Daniel Bott told this month’s council meeting that he had amended the motion to take down the fence, saying it should be replaced with a pedestrian crossing.

 “The key word is replaced,” said Cr Bott. “Unless there is a pedestrian crossing to replace the fence, then the fence should still be there.”

A response from Strathfield Council maintains: “Council had been raising its concern for pedestrian safety issues at Marlborough Road with the RMS for some time. The matter was first raised through the traffic committee in February 2014 and through Council resolution in May 2014. The RMS issued grant funding to Council to implement a number of interventions in Marlborough Road on 18 March 2015.

“This included funding the widening of the footpath and new fencing along the western side of Marlborough Road.”

RMS insisted the fence be put up, even though it was only partially funded.

“Council subsequently installed the fencing on 2 July 2015. After a period of observation by Council and from feedback from local residents it soon became evident that people were walking around the new fence and crossing Marlborough Road to reach the tunnel.

“This resulted in people walking a greater distance across the road and further added to public safety concerns.

“The fence was therefore dismantled on 16 July in the interests of the public safety.” 

So far, council has built a new ramp to help parents with prams to safely negotiate Marlborough Road and last year it widened footpaths and installed lighting around the new ramp area.


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