Richmond Valley Council is calling for the NSW roads department to consider cow hazards, safety, traffic and trade in its plans for Summerland Way.
Richmond Valley Council is calling for the NSW roads department to consider cow hazards, safety, traffic and trade in its plans for Summerland Way. Peter Holt

Roundabouts not cows: council criticises Summerland Way plan

RICHMOND Valley Council has criticised the New South Wales roads department over its plans for the Summerland Way 197 Km B91 connection between Grafton and the NSW-Queensland border.

In a letter to the Roads and Maritime Services dated October 27, Richmond Valley Council stated it "agrees in principle with the contents of the document... but is disappointed the overall vision appears to be business as usual”.

"Priorities identified over the short, medium and long term are a rolling sameness of 'maintain', 'improve', 'investigate', 'upgrade', 'continue to' and so on” read the letter, included in the council meeting minutes from October 27.

Bus stop safety

Richmond Valley Council raised safety concerns over "the geometry and proximity to high speed traffic” of "school and public bus stops on the Summerland Way - in particular the intersection of McDonalds Bridge Road”.

Casino traffic

"The bridge crossing the Richmond River in Casino remains the only north/south crossing point for significant distance in either direction and if that is closed for any reason, the traffic impacts are substantial” the council's letter stated.

Mayor Robert Mustow said they wanted two roundabouts where Summerland Way met Richmond and Canterbury Streets in Casino.

During discussions earlier in the year, however, RMS officials indicated the roundabouts were "not a high priority for them” because they considered that part of the road the Bruxner Highway, not Summerland Way.

Cattle hazards

Cr Mustow said council was frustrated by Forestry NSW's mismanagement of grazing leases alongside Summerland Way in Whiporie.

"These leases are not enforced by Forestry for control or fencing and council rangers are regularly called to the area to herd cattle off the Summerland Way” read Richmond Valley Council's letter.

"If RMS in its capacity as a road authority can bring pressure to Forestry NSW to be diligent in this area it will reduce traffic hazards.”

RVC media spokeswoman Sharon Davidson said the council's customer care service received 31 call outs to remove cattle from Summerland Way in 2015-16 and the bulk of them were in relation to Forestry NSW land.

Highway trade

"The vision does include 'support' (but without clearly saying what that means) for the movement of goods between (South East Queensland), the Darling Downs and NNSW and recognises the current restrictions and 'potential to achieve higher productivity'” the letter read.

"However it goes on to seemingly put it into the too hard basket when it states it will need robust investigations into the provision of sufficient infrastructure.

"The economic vision is at best given cursory comment and a document such as this should have a greater strategic focus.

"There appears to be no appetite for a study, possibly in collaboration with the Queensland government, to ascertain the pros and cons of this important "internal” road infrastructure.”

Summerland Way passes through Richmond Valley shire south of Whiporie to its border south of Kyogle.

The RMS Summerland Way Draft Corridor Strategy was on public display from September 28, 2016 and submissions closed on October 28, 2016.

Council members voted unanimously to approve the letter except for Cr Steve Morrissey who was absent from the meeting.



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