The Coffs Coast Advocate story on December 11 last year.
The Coffs Coast Advocate story on December 11 last year.

Highway fix claim but no action

WE have the claim, now where is the action?

A sign erected south of Urunga promises a $3 million safety upgrade will be completed along the worst stretch of road in the state this year – local residents and travellers are hoping it will begin immediately.

An RTA safety review which was due to be concluded by December 31, last year has been examining the death zone stretch of Pacific Highway between Urunga and Macksville.

The stretch of road between Urunga and Warrell Creek continues to claim lives, with the latest fatal accident occurring south of Macksville on February 16.

Twenty-six people have lost their lives there in five years.

Following a meeting with Mr Borger in late November, Coffs Harbour mayor Cr Keith Rhoades said the Minister had promised to report back to him on installing road dividers; relocating the speed cameras to the highway south of Urunga from Bonville and the possibility of making the temporary 60kmh speed zone around Hungry Head permanent.

Cr Rhoades said yesterday he had not heard from the Minister but was pleased to hear about the new sign, which had not been in place when he left for Sydney and was happy to see the 60kmh speed zone was still in place around Hungry Head.

The ALP candidate for Coffs Harbour, David Quinn, said he believes work on the safety upgrade was expected to begin this month.

He said the RTA had already carried out some safety work along this section of the highway and had plans to widen the road shoulders and improve the road surface just to the south of Urunga, which would include improving the Martells Road intersection and installing concrete barriers near Hungry Head.

“The work will be delivered in two stages, with the first starting this month,” Mr Quinn said shedding some light on the story behind the sudden appearance of the sign.

He said the RTA manager, Bob Higgins, had announced work on the Urunga Bypass had already commenced with geotechnical drilling, but the planning, community consultation and actual construction made this a lengthy process so it was important to act now to preserve lives on the old sections.

At last month’s Pacific Highway Forum in Coffs Harbour, Mr Quinn moved that the meeting express to governments that they work together with a bipartisan approach to have the highway upgrade completed by 2016.

His motion was unanimously supported by all those attending, including the Nationals member for Coffs Harbour, Andrew Fraser, and the Nationals Federal member for Cowper, Luke Hartsuyker.

In December a statement from the Minister for Roads, David Borger, said he had asked the RTA to consider retaining the temporary 60kmh speed zone near Hungry Head and the possibility of deploying speed cameras as part of the safety review.

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