'Mum could be killed'
NICK Westman is terrified of losing his mother.
Every time he sees the seemingly never-ending holiday traffic take a "shortcut” along Centenary Drive, Clarenza, this terrible thought pops into his head.
"My mum lives in Clarenza and normally comes out of the southern exit on to the Pacific Highway to get to Grafton,” MrWestman said.
"For residents this time of year, it's really dangerous because there are so many people heading north, trying to turn right into Centenary Drive and some people aren't doing that safely.
"I'm worried Mum could be killed.”
This week The Daily Examiner reported on congestion and danger at the intersection north of Grafton since mobile phone applications started directing motorists along the route as a suggested shortcut.
However, MrWestman said the southern intersection towards Glenugie was just as dangerous.
"There is so much traffic coming into Clarenza and in some instances it's a 15-minute wait to get out from the southern end,” he said.
"It's like you're waiting for an MVA (motor vehicle accident) to happen and they're not fun.”
Mr Westman, who works in mapping, said he was interested to understand how GPS applications such as Google Maps created these routes.
"I've been fascinated by the Google side of it; I'm not sure what percentage of users are telling Google to direct motorists down this path rather than proper authorities,” he said.
A Google Maps representative said the GPS app had an "automated routing optimisation algorithm” that was used for "every route created in Google Maps”.
Mr Westman said he had contacted Clarence Valley Council about the issue, but a council representative confirmed these two intersections were the responsibility of Roads and Maritime Services.
"People have said that the highway bypass will fix it but that's a year or two away and a hell of a lot of incidents can happen in that time,” Mr Westman said.
In the meantime, he and other residents have suggested putting up signs that warn people of the error.
"This would be good in the short term, but a long-term solution would be to lobby Google Maps and other data providers to stop using this route,” he said.
"It's a secondary road and not the highway.”