No signs of progress at St Helena

AS THE all too familiar sirens raced to yet another crash on the Pacific Highway at StHelena yesterday morning, local residents are exasperated at RTA delays to reduce the speed limit.

Last week, to residents' relief, electronic signs were erected on both the north and southbound approaches to the Coolamon Scenic Drive junction warning motorists the speed limit would be reduced to 80km/h from Monday this week.

After inquiries from The Northern Star when this did not occur, the signs' messages were changed to ‘report incidents', with an RTA spokesman – responding to questions asked three days earlier – saying only that the speed reduction notification had been premature and a review was under way.

The spokesman reiterated that yesterday, saying a decision should be forthcoming in a few weeks, but again failed to provide any explanation.

Chris Shevellar, from the Highway Dwellers Group which represents locals living near the highway between Bangalow and Byron Bay, said with 22,000 cars passing his house each day, something needed to happen now.

“In the last 12 months there have been two deaths right outside my front gate on the downhill, plus countless near misses,” he said. “The existing speed camera at the base of St Helena hill – which earned $2.6m in 2007 alone – has done a good job, but the black spots have simply been moved further up the hill.

“With eight private entr-ances and five connecting roads in this short section we see the situation here as worse than Sextons Hill in Tweed Heads.

“What is needed right now is an 80km/h speed limit on the highway from Sunnycrest Lane over the crest down to the St Helena Road turn-off, with another speed camera in both directions.

“This delay may be just a scheduling thing at the RTA, but we would be interested to know what has now to be fur-ther ‘reviewed' as our representations go back at least eight years."



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