Accidents cost $15 billion

By JENI FAULKNER

ACCIDENTS on our highway cost $15 billion every year and each fatal smash costs more than $1.7 million in services.

Tallied up, Pine Creek fatalities have cost somewhere in the vicinity of $13.6 million dollars since 2002, but try explaining that to the RTA.

A spokesperson from the RTA said road safety on the Pacific Highway had been significantly improved recently. The two areas identified ? Hungry Head and Pine Creek.

"The Pine Creek work was completed earlier this year. The Hungry Head improvements will be completed shortly after audible line marking is installed," the spokesperson said.

The work to improve the Pine Creek section of road started in July 2003 (see fact box).

"The State Government provided $300,000 to upgrade both sections, and the Federal Government contributed $410,000 to the Hungry Head project."

The Bonville Upgrade planned for the Pacific Highway will bypass the Pine Creek section of the highway. The 9.6km upgrade starts from Perrys Road at Repton and finishes at Lyons Road, Sawtell.

But despite more than a two-year wait for work to begin, the spokesperson from the RTA said planning approval was expected to be announced 'shortly'.

In the meantime though, we offer a simple and short-term solution. The RTA said speed was identified as a contributing factor for crashes at Pine Creek.

According to the RTA records it costs $200,000 to install a speed camera in a country location, so why not install one?

"If power or communications are needed it can cost more and there are ongoing operating costs associated with maintaining the camera," the RTA said.

From January 2002 to December 2004 seven people died on the Pacific Highway from the northern end of the Raleigh Deviation to the Pine Creek rest area. Another lost their life closer to Bonville. A total of eight deaths.



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