Police traffic blitz in force
By LUKE PRENDERGAST
POLICE have a clear message for Northern Rivers residents who plan to drive this weekend: "Take care on the roads or face the consequences."
Police expressed serious concern after four deaths from three crashes on New South Wales roads on Tuesday, including two Lismore priests killed near Woolgoolga.
A statewide Easter traffic blitz, Operation Tortoise, begins today with double demerit points for speeding and seatbelt offences.
Nine people were killed on NSW roads last Easter ? one of those in the State's north.
So far in 2007, 31 people have died on roads north of Sydney. With four road deaths on the Mid-North Coast so far this year, plus five in the Coffs/Clarence area and three in Tweed/Byron, police are desperate to prevent more deaths during one of the year's busiest times on the roads.
Local highway patrol officers and mobile teams from the Traffic Services Group will be out in force to ensure motorists obey the rules, but not even that stops some people.
Last Easter police clocked 3344 motorists travelling above the speed limit in northern NSW, with a further 186 detected drink-driving.
Northern Region traffic co-ordinator, Senior Sergeant Mal Read, yesterday encouraged drivers to plan their trips and be patient. "Northern NSW, particularly coastal parts, is a very popular destination for tourists and as such we expect a lot of traffic on the region's roads over coming days," he said. The RTA will divert traffic at the Brunswick Heads roundabout to the interchange at the southern entry of town.
The changed conditions are expected to be in place from today through to Saturday, on Monday and the following weekend.
In Ballina, the right-turn into Ballina Fair and right-turn into Ballina Central will not be permitted today or Saturday.
To access Ballina Fair, southbound motorists are advised to turn right at the Fox Street roundabout. For Ballina Central Shopping Centre, northbound traffic should turn right at the Fox Street roundabout or at the Bangalow Road roundabout.