LISMORE MP Janelle Saffin has welcomed Transport for NSW’s confirmation that planning is underway for a major upgrade of the Bruxner Highway between Goonellabah and Wollongbar, but says interim safety measures are needed now.
“A total of $8.51 million in Federal and State funding will assess a range of options, including constructing dual carriageway on a new alignment, and it cannot come soon enough,” Ms Saffin says.
“This was my original suggestion and a good outcome from my concerted lobbying of former NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole, which began in mid-2020.
“However, I’ve written to current Minister Sam Farraway MLC, noting that the planning phase may take years and that interim safety measures are needed now.”
In announcing the planning money, Transport for NSW stated: “A key section of the highway is between Sneaths Road, Wollongbar, and Kadina Street, Goonellabah, which has a fatal and serious injury crash rate that is more than eight times higher than similar roads across the State and we must bring this down.”
Ms Saffin has told Minister Farraway that local residents continue to contact her with concerns about the larger volumes of traffic and the speeds at which some motorists travel on this section, particularly on approaches to the notorious Alphadale crossroads.
“Many locals are apprehensive about using this intersection and avoid it, detouring for many extra kilometres on country roads to make safer journeys to Lismore and hinterland, or to Ballina and the coast,” Ms Saffin says.
“A speed zone review, which I pushed for via the Lismore City Council Traffic Committee, was undertaken over the past two years but appears to have languished, no action taken.
“I believe the speed limit needs to be reduced to 60 kilometres from 80 kilometres. I have sought from Minister Farraway a written report on the outcome of that review.”
Ms Saffin says locals feel a dual carriageway realignment, bypassing the crossroads, is so far away that the NSW Government should construct a roundabout at this intersection if it is serious about bringing the fatal and serious injury crash rate down.
Lismore City Council several times in the past applied for State funding to build a roundabout but none met with success despite the terrible and well-documented carnage there, she says.
Ms Saffin says she has again raised the urgent need for reducing the speed limit and building a roundabout as interim safety measures which could save lives and people from being seriously injured.