The safety of this Alstonville intersection is still a concern.
The safety of this Alstonville intersection is still a concern. Hamish Broome

‘STUPID’: Mayor slams plan to fix Alstonville black spot

PLANNED safety upgrades to a dangerous intersection at Alstonville are "stupid" and won't stop crashes, says Ballina Shire Mayor David Wright.

In February 2019, the NSW Government committed $5 million for a new on-ramp to the Bruxner Highway, to improve safety at the Ballina Road intersection at Alstonville.

But the mayor has slammed the third stage of the Governement's plan as "stupid and nonproductive".

"If they are still looking to do the ramp off Wardell Rd onto Ellis Rd, I've already told the RMS it won't solve the problem," Cr Wright said.

"People are still driving down to Ballina down that left lane ‒ motorbikes have been the two deaths there - if anything it'll create more problems.

"I told the former head of Transport NSW, Anna Andrew, that if they start work on the on ramp, I will lie in front of the excavator because it is so dumb. It was tongue in cheek, but I was so upset when I learned they had made that decision."

Roads and Maritime Services data reveals that, since May 2011, there has been 10 casualty crashes at or near the intersection of Ballina Rd and Bruxner Highway, including the east bound slip lane from Ballina Rd.

Combined, the crashes resulted in two deaths, seven people with serious injuries, nine with moderate injuries and five people with minor injuries.

While there was some confusion over when works of the on-ramp at Ellis Rd would begin, Transport for NSW North region director, Anna Zycki, confirmed construction would start in 2021, weather permitting.

"Transport for NSW has been working with Ballina Shire Council on a range of options to deliver the desired safety outcomes at this intersection and ensure the project meets the community's needs," Ms Zycki said.

"The options will go out for community consultation later this year."

She said the trial banning right-turns onto the Bruxner Hwy from Ballina Rd in the afternoons would continue.

"Turning movements at this intersection will continue to be reviewed to decide if these restrictions will be continued," she said.

Cr Wright said he had been lobbying for about 15 years to get heavy traffic out of Alstonville and to improve safety along that stretch of the Bruxner Hwy.

"The RMS's solution is to put heavier traffic through Alstonville, making drivers go down Wardell Rd and down an off ramp, which is about a kilometre around the corner from the next off ramp that's been built at Russellton Dr," he said.

"With the current no-turn right at Ballina Rd people are going left down to the cemetery, doing a U-turn and going back into Lismore. It's crazy.

"I would not have thought about their solution in a million years because it is so stupid."

He said a solution would be to construct a roundabout where the proposed on-ramp was to be built at Ballina Rd.

Ballina MP Tamara Smith said many residents were worried about using the Plateau's two entrances to the Bruxner Highway.

"Anxiety about using both black spot entrances and exits to Bruxner Highway came out very clearly in the community survey I sent to every household in Alstonville and Wollongbar in 2018," she said.

"The proposed on-ramp across Wardell Road and Ellis Road and closure of access to the highway from Ballina Road will get us close to resolving these issues as people will finally have safe access to the village of Alstonville.

"Individuals in our community have paid a terrible price for this project being short changed a decade ago and we urgently need the on-ramp."

NSW Parliamentary Secretary for Energy and the Arts Ben Franklin Ben Franklin deferred his comments to the Minister for Roads, Andrew Constance.

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