Michael Blackler, 10, waits for traffic to pass before crossing the busy Rifle Range Rd at Wollongbar on his way to school.
Michael Blackler, 10, waits for traffic to pass before crossing the busy Rifle Range Rd at Wollongbar on his way to school.

A town divided by traffic

By HANNAH ROSS

WOLLONGBAR mother Christina Blackler is worried about her 10-year-old son walking 10 minutes to school alone, but it is not because she is over-%protective.

Mrs Blackler fears for her son’s safety crossing Rifle Range Road, a notorious stretch of bitumen plagued by B-double trucks and an average of 2844 car movements each day in the 60km/h speed zone.

The road has become a de facto highway for motorists travelling to Lismore from the Pacific Highway and the Coast Road north of Ballina.

On Saturday two cars were involved in a collision on the road at the junction with the Pacific Highway at Tintenbar.

At Wollongbar, Rifle Range Road passes through the middle of a medium density residential area, yet it has no footpaths, nor any pedestrian crossings.

Mrs Blackler said the road split the village of Wollongbar in two.

“Wollongbar is a very family oriented place. For the children living on our side Rifle Range Road, there is no option but to cross that road with all its cars, buses and trucks,” she said.

Mrs Blackler said her son Michael had been asking her for two years when he could walk to school by himself.

“I tried to explain that my only fear is him trying to cross Rifle Range Road at peak hour. He loves to walk for fitness and I want to give him his independence, but just this week B-doubles were roaring past him and their vibrations really frightened him,” she said.

“What is the right age to let our children cross this hazardous road?”

Mrs Blackler said she would like to see the speed zone through the residential area reduced to 40 kilometres per hour.

She would also like to see Ballina Shire Council install footpaths and a pedestrian crossing to allow children to move freely and safely around Wollongbar.



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