Money sought to fix death traps
By ANDY PARKS
THE road between Bangalow and Lismore is a ‘disgrace’ that was ‘meant for horses and wagons, not modern vehicles,’ according to Lismore Councillor Frank Swientek.
His comments come in the wake of another fatality on the road when 24-year-old Sarah Williams, from Lismore, died after her car hit a bus on Monday.
It is the second fatality this year between Bangalow and Clunes and the fifth on the same road since 2002. There has also been 59 ‘injury crashes’ between 2002 and 2006 according to RTA figures.
Cr Swientek put a motion before Lismore council last year to work with the RTA and all levels of government to investigate a new north-east corridor.
He said members of both Lismore and Byron councils had a meeting with residents as recently as last Saturday to discuss the issue.
“By my calculations there are 70 bends between Lismore and Bangalow, it’s totally ridiculous,” Cr Swientek said.
“It’s an archaic road that belongs in a museum; it’s not fit for the modern standards expected by our community.”
Cr Swientek said that whenever the RTA had provided any funding for the road, it had only been for patch-up work.
“The whole road needs to be completely re-routed,” he said. “It’s still the fastest route from Brisbane or the Gold Coast to Lismore. There is a lot of heavy traffic going through – in excess of 8500 traffic movements a day. It’s archaic, it’s reached its used-by date and we need a new route and money from the State Government for the development of that route.”
Inspector Owen King from Byron Bay police also expressed concern about the road.
“It is a black spot area for us. We spend a large amount of time patrolling the road and when it rains, it does become more treacherous. Drivers should take extra care.”
Cr Sweintek said the focus on the upgrade of the Pacific Highway had ignored the two main roads feeding into Lismore, despite the fact there was more traffic on them than on the highway.
He said he would like to see a new route that goes from Lismore to Bangalow in the vicinity of Booyong, with an offshoot that goes to Ballina. He said that would also take the pressure off the Bruxner Highway and keep traffic out of Alstonville, Wollongbar and Goonellabah.