The new intersection on the highway at Tuross Head is finished at a cost of $1.3m For anyone not familiar with the intersection there was a problem The problem was that anyone turning right to head north on the highway had to look right, then left, then right again before pulling out. Before the new intersection there was a Give Way sign After a sate of near fatalities it was revealed that drivers were caught out by looking right then looking left and pulling out only to find someone had snuck up the hill at 100km an hour and Wham. Or they looked right, looked left, looked right again to discover a car turning into Tuross so they went .... not seeing another car HIDDEN behind the first.... Wham. So they put in a STOP SIGN and a STOP LINE and then spent $1.3m to provide a dedicated off lane into Tuross to solve the HIDDEN Car issue. Next they made the STOPPING Lane one car wide so that each and every car arriving at the intersection to turn left or right has to first stop, check the traffic and then if safe go. Up until then south bound traffic could turn south when safe to do so from a wider lane while northbound traffic waited for highway traffic heading north to clear. Welcome to the Tuross head morning bottle neck that now sees cars banked back, as many as thirty, to patiently (or not) wait their turn. Christmas traffic should make this interesting viewing. Meanwhile they moved the parking to a new carpark which has proven to be well used so no complaints there so far. When they were building this however the Council requested that the RMS redesigning the carpark to be similar to the Sussex Inlet one where interstate buses could pull in and with safety pick up and drop off passengers. The RMS said that was outside their brief. The Council said that those who were disabled would have difficulty in accessing the new bus stop that was relocated further south of the intersection. The RMS said they would build a path. Council said that a path was nt the solution and the bus bay needed to be able to allow passengers to be picked up and dropped off NEXT to the bus. What the RMS have built is this.
Above: the bus layby south of the Tuross Head turnoff - it is one bus wide and has a path connecting to the adjacent carpark. Traffic goes past ths point at 100km per hour.
Firstly what was wrong with the old bus layby. Well it had problems as you can see below. From the viewpoint of a driver turning right and heading north there is a FULL obstruction to line of sight by where the bus used to park. That made for many a near miss as drivers inched forward to see beyond the bus to vehicles hurling along the highway at 100km per hour. At this point it is important to remind readers that Tuross Head has the oldest median age of residents in the Shire. They aren't like Fangio and many of our older drivers are tad cautious when they go anywhere near the highway but as they are isolated in Tuross they need to drive to Moruya, the Bay and beyond for services and needs. There is NO local public transport. Put yourself in the position of turning right, overly cautious, a line of cars pressing behind you - do you go or, for inch out into the highway or wait for the bus to leave?
So they moved the bus stop further down the highway to a narrow bus layby
There is one very large complaint about the new bus layby that used to be much wider and also accommodate a bus and car as you can see above. John Tilbrook, secretary of the Tuross Head Progress Association, says "the new Bus bay is far too narrow, whereby coach drivers have to pull their buses off the highway well to the left beyond the white solid line on the eastern side of the asphalted surface."
"Of great concern is the location of the extended deep ditch with steep sloping sides that impedes the safe loading and unloading of passengers baggage from the the underbus cargo compartments."
"The coach drivers have to walk along the side of the bus in this ditch, and have to stand in this muddy ditch to open up the buses luggage compartments and to handle luggage." he added.
"The steep sides of the ditch are slippery in inclement weather and therefore is a distinct public safety risk to both drivers and passengers."
John does offer a suggestion to the RMS to consider that might give them an out from what is obviously a major design failing on their part. John suggests an extended stormwater drainpipe be laid in the bottom of this ditch and then back filled with crushed rock to create a hard standing area adjoining the asphalted bus parking bay? And while they are at it why not provide a covered bus shelter; the reason being that if it is raining the only option that was and is still available to passengers is to sit in a car for which there is no location other than a carpark some sixty meters away. If only the RMS had consulted with the community, passengers and bus drivers.