Long-time firey shares Bruxner Hwy horror stories
AFTER losing two friends in a crash at the Alphadale Crossroads, RFS volunteer Ken Lane began petitioning for safety upgrades at the intersection.
It was the early 1980s and in two months the long-time McLeans Ridges resident, in conjunction with the former Ballina MP Don Page, managed to get close to 4000 signatures.
Speaking out now, the RFS volunteer of 40 years said he wanted to make sure the greater community knew just how dangerous the stretch of the Bruxner Hwy, between Lismore and Ballina is and to not give up on lobbying for safety upgrades.
"We wanted safety upgrades, specifically turning lanes, and widening out the intersection to get better visibility," Mr Lane said.
But he said the petition wasn't the main reason the government acted back then.
"I would stand there at the intersection with a stopwatch, counting how quick cars came into the intersection," he said.
"You had to have a minimum of six seconds visibility both directions and towards Lismore coming out of the crossroads you only had four seconds."
He said the improvements included creating more clearance by removing a bank and lowering the whole intersection under a metre for better visibility each way.
"You have six seconds each way if a car is doing 80 km now, it's only just legal," he said.
During his time with the RFS, the former captain of McLeans branch said he attended "too many" accidents on the stretch of road.
"Until they put the speed camera past the research station, we used to attend roughly about three accidents a week, ranging from major to minor coming off the section of road," he said.
"The former captain of Tregeagle and I were doing those accidents regularly. He lived near the crossroads and kept count of the deaths there. I took over on that section of road and the total is at 39 deaths over the last probably 80 years.
"I personally attended accidents at the crossroads, I know of eight deaths there in my time."
He agreed with Lismore MP Janelle Saffin's proposed plan to realign the Bruxner Hwy and with residents calling for a 60km zone be installed in the interim.
"Everyone is on-board for upgrades up here but nothing seems to be coming back from the government," he said.
He urged others to stand up for what they believed in.
"You just keep banging and hopefully the wall falls down," he said.