The long road to a solution at Testers Hollow

The long road to a solution at Testers Hollow

Long road to Testers solution | PHOTOS Testers Hollow was blocked for almost five days in January 2016. Picture: Nick Bielby
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OVERDUE: Great-granddaughter of William Tester June Hirst believes the flooding problem should have been fixed long ago. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

FRUSTRATION: Cliftleigh resident Sonia Warby and daughter Kirra-lea after the January 2016 storm closed Testers Hollow for almost five days.

Testers Hollow was blocked for almost five days in January 2016. Picture: Nick Bielby

Testers Hollow was closed from April 21 to May 7, 2015 due to flooding. Photo: Sage Swinton

Testers Hollow was closed from April 21 to May 7, 2015 due to flooding. Photo: Sage Swinton

Cars contend with flood waters as Testers Hollow rises during the April storm. Photo: Sonia Warby.

Boat crews help send supplies to Gillieston Heights, which was cut off by floodwater on both sides in April 2015. Photo: Sonia Warby.

Boat crews help send supplies to Gillieston Heights, which was cut off by floodwater on both sides in April 2015. Photo: Sonia Warby.

Testers Hollow was closed from April 21 to May 7, 2015 due to flooding. Photo: Sonia Warby.

Testers Hollow was closed from April 21 to May 7, 2015 due to flooding. Photo: Sonia Warby.

Boat crews help send supplies to Gillieston Heights, which was cut off by floodwater on both sides in April 2015. Photo: Sonia Warby.

Testers Hollow was closed from April 21 to May 7, 2015 due to flooding. Photo: Sonia Warby.

A bus trapped in floodwater at Testers Hollow in 1929.

A bus trapped in floodwater at Testers Hollow in 1929.

Passengers from the stranded bus were rowed to dry land.

Testers Hollow

East Maitland, across from golf course. Picture by Charles Willacy

Morpeth. Picture by Charles Willacy

No through road, Morpeth. Picture by Charles Willacy

Morpeth park. Picture by Charles Willacy

Horseshoe Bend, Maitland. Picture by Charles Willacy

Morpeth. Picture by Charles Willacy

East Maitland. Picture by Charles Willacy

TweetFacebookRelated contentFairfax Mediahas pushed with its Raise the Road campaign, community members have collected signatures on petitions calling for action and local politicians have exerted pressure on the ruling party.

Newspaper archives from as early as1927contain reports of the chaos caused when rain flooded the major road between Maitland and Cessnock–twohubs of the Lower Hunter.

The Maitland Weekly Mercuryreported on New Year’s Day, 1927, that the water had cut the road after rising two metres.

A couple of years later, in October, 1929, aCessnock Eagle and South Maitland Recorderreport contained details of five people being rescued after the bus they were travelling in hit strife on the inundated road on a journey to Kurri Kurri.

In that same month, theNewcastle Morning Herald and Miner’s Advocatecalled Testers Hollow a“flood menace”.

“Since the opening up of the Maitlandcoalfield and the construction of the existing road from Maitlandthrough KurriKurri to Cessnock,the necessity for raising that part of the road, known as TestersHollow, hasbeen stressed by localgovernment bodies, progress associations,and engineers,” the newspaper reported.

Asearch of Trove–the National Library of –shows there has been ongoing talk about raising the road for at least 90 years.

Most recently, the issue came to a head in the aftermath of the April super storm in 2015, when the road at Testers Hollow was cut for more than two weeks.

Thiswas part of the reasonthe suburb ofGillieston Heights was isolatedfrom the remainder of the community forseveral days.

The road didn’t make it another year before it went under again.In January, 2016, the road was closedfor several days.That’s whenmomentumbehind the community campaign andFairfax Media’s Raise the Road campaign started tobuild.

Within months it became a key federal election issue in the seat of Paterson, with Labor promising $10 million to fix the road and the Liberal Party pledging $15 million.

The state government has been tight lipped on its plans, but a joint announcement with federal Infrastructure Minister Darren Chesterthis week means that, after decades, a timeline for a fix is on the table.