They bear scars of of bypass bickering
By Samantha Turnbull
John Dockrill and Katie Martin don't remember the accidents that almost killed them, but they have the scars to prove it.
The Spring Grove man and Alstonville woman were both victims of separate accidents on the Bruxner Highway through Alstonville.
Neither remembers exactly what happened, but both believe their trauma could have been avoided if a bypass of the town had been built.
State Roads Minister Joe Tripodi said yesterday the NSW Government had spent $6.2 million, mainly on property acquisitions, but a lack of Federal funding meant the project would not be completed until the end of 2010.
However, Mr Dockrill said he believed the delay was a result of bickering between the State and Federal governments.
Mr Dockrill was hit by a car on the Main Street pedestrian crossing near the Alstonville Newsagency in 1999.
His right leg was broken in three places, seven of his ribs were cracked and one of his lungs punctured.
Six years on, he walks with a slight limp after losing 10mm of bone from his right leg.
"I used to live in Wollongbar and moved up from Sydney in 1982. Back then I thought it needed a bypass, and now it's even worse," he said.
"My only memory of the accident was people picking me up out of the gutter."
Ms Martin was driving along the highway near Geoff Watt Oval in 2001 when a Lismore-bound vehicle crashed into her.
She was rushed to Brisbane with severe head injuries and hospitalised for three months.
"It's still hard to deal with emotionally," she said.
"The doctors told my parents to say goodbye a few times, but I pulled through."
Ms Martin said she was amazed to hear the bypass would not be finished for another four years.
"The biggest thing about this for me is that if there was a bypass he (the driver) would never have been driving through Alstonville," she said.
She said that traffic travelling through the town was increasing.
"I live on the highway and trying to get out of my driveway at 8.30 in the morning takes more than five minutes. It's ridiculous," she said.