POLICE close a section of the Pacific Highway at Woodburn after a section of road collapsed.
POLICE close a section of the Pacific Highway at Woodburn after a section of road collapsed. Adam Hourigan

Audit call for Pacific Highway

THE aftermath of a tragic motor vehicle accident that claimed the life of a man and left a young girl fighting for life has led to calls for an audit of Pacific Highway traffic management.

Following the fatal collision at Valla Beach on Sunday, the national highway was brought to a grinding halt for up to four hours in peak holiday season.

Traffic was banked up for 15 kilometres and motorists were either left to wait hours for the road to re-open or be re-directed hundreds of kilometres out of their way.

Road closures due to unrepaired flood damage added to the chaos as the Roads and Traffic Authority tried to divert traffic around the crash.

Member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser yesterday levelled his criticism at the RTA for not alerting media outlets of changed road conditions immediately.

He also went on the attack against the State Government saying it hasn't done enough to help councils repair flood damaged roads.

“It is my belief that the Minister for Roads (Michael Daley) should immediately do an audit of sections of the Pacific Highway, where local bypasses, are not able to be utilised in cases of road trauma,” Mr Fraser said.

“I have had a number of calls of complaint into my office due to the delays created by the lack of opportunity to bypass the accident scene and the dangers this posed to young children in vehicles who were stuck on the highway with little or no water or sustenance,” he said.

By 4.30pm, almost two hours after the accident, south bound motorists were redirected to the Gwydir Highway near Grafton and north-bound vehicles via the Oxley Highway at Wauchope.

While drivers passing through Newcastle were urged to avoid the national highway altogether and instead travel the New England Highway.

Criticised for not alerting media outlets after the accident, the RTA rerouted traffic using electronic signage and road workers.

Mr Fraser said there have been other instances were accidents north of Coffs Harbour, on the Corindi range had led to lengthy delays for motorists as well as the trauma of having to pass the scene of a fatal crash scene. 

Read more...

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