Alstonville swamped by crash traffic
By Andy Parks
BOB WILSON estimates the residents of Alstonville had an estimated 20,000 extra vehicles through their village yesterday because of the Wardell crash (see above).
"Every time there is an accident between Grafton and Ballina we become the de facto Pacific Highway. This is the second time it's happened this week," he said.
Mr Wilson is co-ordinator of the Alstonville Bypass Action Group, and has been lobbying the State Government for 12 years to come good on its promise to build a bypass around the village.
"The original plans for an Alstonville bypass were drawn up 40 years ago. The route has remained virtually unchanged. The land acquisition has been completed, the preparation work has been completed, but now the money has disappeared. The inaction from the State Government on this issue is deafening."
Mr Wilson has written 'dozens of letters' to Roads Minister Eric Roozendaal, and is now challenging him to come to Alstonville and see the situation for himself.
"We normally have around 20,000 vehicles coming through every day, but that doubles whenever the Pacific Highway traffic is redirected. When school is in we have over 2000 kids crossing the road every day. The road was not meant to handle this. It's a fatality waiting to happen."
In 2003 Premier Bob Carr visited Alstonville and gave a commitment of $24 million towards the Alstonville bypass, with a further $12 million coming from the Federal Government. "There has been no explanation other than the money is no longer available. Now it is expected it will cost around $60 million to build the bypass," Mr Wilson said.