Rhoades meets to talk roads

URGENT safety improvements on the Pacific Highway south of Urunga are a step closer.

Coffs Harbour mayor Keith Rhoades appeared to win concessions from NSW Roads Minister David Borger when the pair met in Sydney yesterday.

Cr Rhoades said local mayors expected to hear from the Minister as early as next week on the possibility of making the temporary 60km/h zone around Hungry Head a permanent measure, along with the chance of installing road dividers like wire fencing or concrete barriers.

Cr Rhoades said it may take a little longer for Mr Borger to report back on a suggestion to re-locate the Bonville speed cameras to the highway south of Urunga.

“They played their part and saved lives and we have to get them out there where they can save more lives,” he said.

“The Minister is committed to saving lives on that stretch of highway. We met for half an hour and he was very keen to get a handle on what the local community thinks and feels about the highway.

“He is also being advised by the RTA.”

Cr Rhoades said they also discussed the success of interim safety measures such as lower speed limits and speed cameras ahead of the construction of the Bonville deviation.

“I was pleased the Minister was able to meet with me considering he only had 24 hours' notice.”

Peter Heath, whose children Lindsay and Grace were seriously injured in the latest highway smash south of Urunga on Friday night, acknowledged the RTA's pledge to review safety on the horror stretch.

But he said that review had to be fast-tracked.

“The RTA needs to get it finished really quickly,” he said.

The growing accident rate was taking its toll on emergency services and the community as a whole, he said.

“Hospital staff have had just about enough of dealing with motor vehicle accidents on that bit of road.”

In the aftermath of last week's horrific string of accidents, the RTA announced it was reviewing speed zones between Urunga and Nambucca Heads.

That will include the current 80km/h section from Urunga to south of the Hungry Head turnoff and the 100km/h stretch to Nambucca Heads.

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