Highway voted as worst black spot

FOR motorists driving the Pacific Highway between Macksville and Urunga, it won’t come as any surprise.

Yet for politicians forming the next State Government, it’s concrete proof an immediate upgrade is wanted by the people.

More than 9000 road users surveyed by the NRMA have labelled the highway black spot as the worst section of road on the North Coast.

The highway near Urunga has been red flagged with motorists identifying their most frustrating stretch of roadway while pin-pointing where they feel most at risk.

Over the past five years, 23 lives have been lost on the Pacific Highway between Coffs Harbour and Macksville.

A further three crashes in the space of six days near Hungry Head in November saw North Coast mayors raise the problem section with Roads Minister David Borger, who acted in reducing speed limits.

But road users, local politicians and the NRMA want to see an immediate solution, claiming more lives will be lost waiting for the Warrell Creek to Urunga upgrade to be completed.

“We wanted to give all motorists a voice this election,” NRMA Motoring & Services president Wendy Machin said. “The elected government needs to spend the next four years finding solutions to those problems,” she said.

Nambucca Heads highway patrol Sergeant Jarrod Langan knows all too well the dangers motorists face travelling between Urunga and Macksville.

“This section isn’t overly that bad, but it’s one where people have to drive to the conditions, they need to be switched on, they have to concentrate and be 100 per cent alert,” Sgt Lagan said.

“Sadly, all too often we attend the accidents were people have been complacent.”

He said there was an extensive highway patrol focus south of Urunga over the holiday period, and fortunately no major accidents happened.

Pacific Highway Taskforce chairman and Bellingen Shire Mayor Mark Troy pointed to the survey results, again calling on government for interim safety measures.

“We need to see an immediate start to works at the northern end of the proposed Warrell Creek to Urunga highway upgrade, between Urunga and Macksville,” Cr Troy said.

“This includes speed limit reductions, speed cameras, widening of the road shoulders and the installation of centre barriers. The accident rate south of Urunga is appalling and most of these accidents have occurred after vehicles have veered into oncoming traffic,” he said.

Mr Borger defended the State Government’s highway investment.

“There are more upgrades under way on the Pacific Highway than any other road in Australia. Works are under way to upgrade 69 kilometres of the highway to dual carriageway,” Mr Borger said.

The top five most flagged roads on the North Coast according to NRMA members are:

1. Pacific Highway near Urunga; 2. Bangalow Road near Lismore; 3. Kennedy Drive at Tweed Heads; 4. Bucketts Way near Gloucester; 5. Oxley Highway near Port Macquarie

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