Vic Essery, of Richomnd Hill, reflects on crosses marking the place where drivers lost their lives on the Bruxner Highway at the notorious Alphadale intersection.
Picture: David Nielsen
Vic Essery, of Richomnd Hill, reflects on crosses marking the place where drivers lost their lives on the Bruxner Highway at the notorious Alphadale intersection. Picture: David Nielsen

Put an end to sad memories

EVERY time Richmond Hill resident Vic Essery stands at the Alphadale Crossing, on a notorious stretch of the Bruxner Highway, he thinks of his dear old dad James.

He can recall being there as a boy, holding his father's hand and waiting for a bus into town.

Some 40 years later James Essery - then in his early 70s - was again standing at the crossroads waiting for that bus. He had done so a hundred times before.

Two young women in a speeding car hit him from behind and carried his body on the bonnet more than 100m before rolling the car.

That was 30 years ago and every time another death is recorded along the horrific stretch the awful memory is rekindled. Mr Essery knows of many fatalities, the latest being a dear friend from childhood.

Vic Essery is a good-natured 79-year-old now and has a lifelong association with this stretch of highway.

He grew up on a dairy farm at Alphadale, and farmed throughout the district.

His parents lived quite close to the junction. And in all those years one thing has remained the same: The tragic state of the winding, highway between Old Pineapple Road and Marom Creek.

“It is a second-rate highway,” he said. “I've known too many people who have died here. And no one seems to care enough to do something about it.

“They just clean up the mess after an accident and two weeks later everyone except the families involved have forgotten all about it.”

The road includes narrow, winding sections, blind crossings, and a merging passing lane that concludes atop a small rise.

The final straw for Mr Essery occurred in early October when his old friend, Ron Donohue, died in his ute just west of the crossing, on the highway.

Mr Donohue had recently retired after selling his farm and was looking forward to a few years of relaxation. Mr Essery had known the man since childhood, and his death following on from his father's was almost too much to bear.

Mr Essery can count 15 people killed on this stretch of bad road in his memory, including the lives of two truckies, two pedestrians and a cyclist.

Now he plans to take his complaint further, and will push the RTA to at least have flashing warning lights at Old Pineapple Road and at Marom Creek near the speed camera.

“What will happen when the Alstonville bypass is built and all that traffic comes into this stretch of highway?” he asks. “I only hope I live long enough to see it fixed.”



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