WRONG WAY: Gerry Burnage at the junction of Teven Road and the Pacific Highway. Gerry is concerned that GPS units direct highway traffic along Teven Road as a shortcut bypassing Ballina.
WRONG WAY: Gerry Burnage at the junction of Teven Road and the Pacific Highway. Gerry is concerned that GPS units direct highway traffic along Teven Road as a shortcut bypassing Ballina. Cathy Adams

Ballina bypassed with GPS directions

BACK in the days when motorists read maps, only a handful bypassed Ballina by way of Teven’s double bridges.

Now, because of global positioning system technology, every driver who has one installed is directed this way.

And Ballina SES controller Gerry Burnage is concerned accidents are waiting to happen.

The unofficial bypass deposits traffic at a dangerous junction on the Pacific Highway south of Ballina, where a man was killed earlier this week.

The Yamba man had turned right out of Teven Road on to the highway moments before he was hit by a bus.

A week before, an accident on the Tintenbar Road alerted SES volunteers to the GPS problem.

Mr Burnage said volunteers interviewed many drivers caught in the traffic jam created by the accident in order to assist with directions. They were amazed at the number of drivers heading to Grafton and south.

Asked why they were on the Tintenbar Road instead of the Pacific Highway, they were told GPS suggested drivers take the alternative route.

Ballina SES team leader Jeanette Marriott said she noticed a 20 per cent downturn in cars stopping at the Ballina driver reviver stall in Kerr Street last Christmas, with that drop being blamed on GPS
units telling their drivers to bypass Ballina.

As a result of that research Ballina Shire Council’s traffic advisory committee will consider recommendations to the council, which may include signs warning drivers of the risks they face taking the Teven-Tintenbar shortcut.

Mr Burnage said drivers coming south had to cross oncoming traffic to enter Tintenbar Road and had to cross it again re-entering the highway at South Ballina.

Those coming north did not have to cross traffic but faced danger negotiating the tricky double bridges at Teven and avoiding oncoming traffic on blind corners.

Add to that heavy traffic between Tintenbar and Alstonville, and truck traffic from two quarries in the area, drivers had better be alert to danger, Mr Burnage said.


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