GPS diverts drivers to black spot
IT’S LUCKY a major traffic accident hasn’t happened at the southern entrance to Ballina in the peak Christmas holiday traffic period.
That is according to Ballina State Emergency Service unit team leader Jeanette Marriott.
She warns the potential threat has all come from dashboard global positioning system (GPS) devices.
Last October, the Ballina SES unit local controller, Gerry Burnage, highlighted the problem of GPS devices directing south-bound highway traffic via the back road to Tintenbar, across the two wooden bridges on Teven Road, and then back to the highway south of Ballina.
He made the claim after a fatal accident involving a bus and a car making a right turn from Teven Road on to the highway. The car driver died in the crash.
Since then, the RTA has installed a no right turn sign at the intersection, which is in force from 7am to 7pm daily, and extended the 60km/h zone to include the intersection.
While Ms Marriott praised those moves, she said motorists were either ignoring the sign, or they were making the left turn north, only to then use the Emigrant Creek boat ramp or the Ballina Waterfront Village to do the U-turn to head back south, rather than driving to the Burns Point Ferry Road roundabout.
“We’ve been waiting for the big one (accident) to happen,” she said.
Ms Marriott said the no right turn sign at the Teven Road intersection could be bigger, or flashing lights could be installed on the sign to make it clearer for motorists to see.
Ballina Waterfront Village manager Ken Silva was much more critical.
He said a temporary roundabout should have been installed at the intersection when work started on the Ballina bypass.
Mr Silva said highway traffic using the caravan park to make U-turns was ‘causing havoc’.
He agreed it was lucky there hadn’t been a crash, and also lucky a more minor ding hadn’t occurred in the caravan park itself.
An RTA spokesperson said the intersection was currently under review.
“The RTA is considering a number of added measures to improve safety and ensure motorists are fully aware they are not allowed to turn right at the intersection,” the spokesperson said.
“A decision on these measures is due in the coming weeks.”
Meanwhile, Ballina Shire Council general manger Paul Hickey said that the council, after researching the issue, had written to Whereis.com, a major supplier of maps, to alert them of the problem of southbound highway traffic being diverted along Teven Road by dashboard and mobile phone GPS devices.