IF YOU think the Pacific Highway through Coffs Harbour is bedlam now, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
Freight movement and truck numbers on our roads are set to double by 2020 and be three-times the current volume by 2050.
The predicted massive increase in traffic will make the current highway route through the centre of town untenable creating heightened danger, noise and exhaust pollution.
The NRMA forecast has huge ramifications for the Coffs Coast putting even greater urgency on the western bypass of the city.
With the increased numbers of heavy vehicles traversing the east coast in the years ahead and the inherent dangers associated with that, the NRMA has identified a hit list of what needs to be addressed now.
President Wendy Machin said safer trucks, a safer road network, improved truck rest areas and more awareness among motorists on how to share the road with heavy vehicles are the key to reducing crashes.
“Australia-wide, crashes involving heavy vehicles are estimated to cost $2 billion a year and more than 300 people are killed annually in crashes involving trucks, according to the Transport Industry Safety Group,” she said.
“There are a range of serious issues that need to be addressed before the roads can become a safer place for our members and accommodate the increased demand for freight movement forecast over the next 10 to 20 years.
“There is no doubt that trucks play an important role in moving freight around the State quickly and efficiently and it is critical that in 2010, governments have a plan for trucks and cars to co-exist safely.”
The Federal Government recently said it would spend $16m to improve truck rest areas but Ms Machin said it was unacceptable truck safety had otherwise been largely ignored.