Planning work to upgrade John Oxley Drive between Kingfisher Road and The Ruins Way has received a mixed response from the community.
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council awarded a design contract to local firm Hopkins Consultants at its council meeting on July 17.
Current and predicted traffic using John Oxley Drive will be assessed as part of the planning work resulting in the development of concept designs for a potential upgrade to this busy section of road.
Director Jeffery Sharp described John Oxley Drive as an "important transport link that is used by more than 16,000 vehicles per day".
"This section of road requires an upgrade to ensure the ongoing safety of motorists so that it continues to service the needs of a growing number of residents and businesses," said Mr Sharp.
"Once the concept plan is updated, the community will be consulted and invited to 'have your say', with the final plans used to support future government funding applications, before construction might commence."
The design phase is expected to take around 12 months to complete at a cost of $500,000 funded by council as part of the 2019/20 operational plan.
Twenty-two-year-old Jorja Curnoe from Thrumpster believes the road "definitely needs upgrading".
"With all the school students, the areas getting bigger itself , and the quality of the road is just bad," she said.
However, she was keen to hear more details.
"One thing that might be an issue is what times they are going to do this at because peak times it is going to be very hard to get through," she said.
A shopper at Lake Innes who gave her name only as Robyn was concerned an upgrade would increase traffic on the road.
"I don't think it really needs an upgrade, if you upgrade it is going to cause more traffic on that road," Robyn said.
"I hope they don't do too much because then it will become like the main thoroughfare."
Business owner Maryanne Maetzig was surprised she didn't know more details about the upgrade.
"We are a business where a lot of customers use the road to access our service," she said.
"I'm assuming any work is going to be quite disruptive to our business and I am worried about how it is going to affect our cash flow."
There is no funding currently allocated for the construction of the John Oxley Drive, and it is expected that funding support by other levels of government will be required.
For more information on the John Oxley Road upgrade click here.