Over 80 people turned up to hear about the future of the Merriwa to Willow Tree Road, maxing out capacity and confirming the community's overwhelming interest.
Upper Hunter Shire Council's general manager Greg McDonald said the residents were incredibly "passionate" at the meeting, but was pleased about the "robust" discussions had on Tuesday night.
Attendees were told that the final design for the Coulsons Creek Road will be completed by July this year, with the construction to be finished anywhere from 18 months to two years after that release.
"If site evaluations come back and we're told the road can be partly opened up sooner while the final design is being completed, then that is something we would consider doing," Mr McDonald said.
"However the safety of road users is absolutely paramount, so unless we are 100 per cent confident that it is safe to do that then we won't."
The problem is that there are nine identified risk areas for landslipping, and while work is being done on one area, the others may deteriorate at the same time.
The MR358, also known as Coulsons Creek Road, was closed indefinitely in January after damage to the recently upgraded road made the stretch impassable.
Concerns about the resulting traffic increase on the alternate route on the Merriwa and Scone/Bunnan Road were also addressed.
"We have money to upgrade that road from Scone, in anticipation of the higher traffic volumes that it's already receiving," he said.
Mr McDonald said they always knew the meeting would be well-attended, and has left the door open for more to follow as progress is made.
"There has been a lot of interest in this road, and one of the things that was raised is that people wished we'd do more meetings like this," he said.
"Obviously we will keep the community updated through our website and social media, however there always seems to be great responses to meetings, so that is something we will consider doing more of in the future."
He affirmed and assured council's commitment to opening the road up as soon as possible, stating they were doing "everything within our power."
"But if anything has to be emphasised, it that the safety of the road travellers is our paramount concern. We won't open road until that safety has been addressed."
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