RESIDENTS are furious and "fear" for the safety of children if an upgrade to a Tamworth intersection goes ahead as planned.
Frustrated Calala residents have been in discussions with a local crash investigator, an insurance company, politicians and Tamworth Regional Council (TRC) about the Calala Lane and Campbell Road intersection upgrade.
Brad Welsh has lived in the area for close to two decades, and has slammed the design as "dangerous".
Mr Welsh told the Leader he understoodcouncil's plan involved ripping up a footpath used by kids to get to the local school; the roundabout itself would be built right next to a road crossing; and traffic flow would be "reduced".
"There's a sense of urgency attached to it and a push for it to happen very quickly," Mr Welsh said.
He said he and other stakeholders had taken their concerns to the NRMA, deputy mayor Phil Betts, Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson and had sought advice from a police crash investigator.
Mr Welsh said it was only when he saw the detailed design plans that he was outraged.
"That's what raised our concerns, we thought that was absolutely ludicrous," he said.
"It's not until this thing is built that people around here will go 'holy crap, what have we got here'."
A statement from TRC said no section of footpath in the construction zone will be permanently removed, and refuges would be installed at the Calala Lane and Campbell Road crossings to "improve safety".
The council statement said there had been "extensive" consultation in Calala with information sessions, letterbox drops, media advertising, social media posts and local business window displays.
"No footpath concerns were raised during this process," it said.
"Council will continue to consult and engage with the community throughout the construction period."
Eight-year veteran of Tamworth Regional Council's traffic committee and career paramedic Ray Tait said he thought the roundabout design was "fraught with danger".
"It's just fundamentally flawed ... it's absolutely tempting fate and sooner or later a kid will pay the price," he said.
"If it had come before me when I was chairman of the traffic committee, it wouldn't have got past there."
The NRMA confirmed it was investigating.
Both Mr Welsh and Mr Tait said they were surprised the $800,000 intersection upgrade was moving so fast, with construction set to start next month.
"You can't just bowl in here like a bulldozer ... it's like something council is doing on steroids," Mr Tait said.
Mr Tait said his main issues were with the crossing being so close to the roundabout and with what he understood to be the removal of a footpath on the southern side of Calala Lane.
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