"FORTY kilometres."

WE'VE heard the promises about the Pacific Hwy upgrade but that's still years away, so what about now?

Yesterday 150 people from Nambucca to Coffs Harbour and the mayors of three local government areas rallied at Urunga in an attempt to get their wish for a 40kmh speed limit through small highway towns introduced and enforced.

Gathered together by passionate advocate Dr Ray Jones, from Doctors for a Safer Pacific Highway, the crowd heard story after story of death and loss and suffering before it marched across the Kalang River Bridge.

Warrell Creek's Dorothy Carmody told of repeated incidents of trucks going through her front fence and people searching for body parts nearby.

Urunga's Ken Sharkey said he had been watching the highway from his home for 25 years and what happened last month when a truck ploughed into a house was an accident waiting to happen.

"But it could be worse - what if that truck had been a petrol tanker and had exploded? Hundreds would have been killed or injured," Mr Sharkey said.

"I am sick of seeing the people of Urunga suffer."

Bellingen Shire Mayor Mark Troy said people were weary and cynical about the promises and the highway was no safer now than it was 22 years ago when the Clybucca bus accident occurred.

"This is not a highway - it is a country road posing as a highway," Cr Troy said.

"And with increasing traffic volumes, each day the mix becomes more volatile."

Coffs Harbour MP Andrew Fraser promised he'd push for bipartisan co-operation for a timeline of work to be set with a budget to match.

"We also need to see black spots addressed immediately," Mr Fraser said.

"We shouldn't continue to have known black spots on the highway and nothing done about them."

The collective question crystallised into a chant as the crowd moved towards the bridge - "40km now".

Following the rally, Dr Jones said he hoped local residents would get together to keep the pressure on state and federal politicians.

"Politicians do respond to political pressure and adverse publicity," Dr Jones said.



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