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Editorial Feb 8th 2019


Enough is enough with the Fairfax Fix It Now campaign demanding isolated fixes. What is required in order to direct the three tiers of Government is not to react to isolated instances and to look at the road network as a whole and develop a 50 year plan. Two years ago Eurobodalla Councillor Phil Constable moved to invite ALL levels of government, the RMS, adjacent councils, Regional Joint Organisations, Police and anyone else who might have an input into looking at the 50 year plan for the Princes Highway. He wanted to acknowledge black spots but he also wanted to look at town bypasses for Narooma, Mogo and Moruya and to see much needed localised pinch point improvements while ensuring that all the works done tie together in an overall plan rather than be isolated expensive fixes that might well end up being bypassed with route upgrades. Clr Constable stood on a platform prior to the 2016 election of pushing for a multi tiered solution that would improve the function and the safety of the Princes Highway from Nowra to the border. The motion was moved by his fellow councillors and the staff were advised to organise it. They chose to ignore the directive. Now two years later there are moves afoot to do exactly what Clr Constable had visioned. But this time the initiative comes from above. This week saw the visit of Federal Labor Leader Bill Shorten to Moruya. With him came Mike Kelly Labor Member for Eden Monaro, , Federal Labor candidate for Gilmore, Fiona Phillips, NSW Labor Leader Michael Daley and Labor candidate for the state seat of Bega, Leanne Atkinson After their joint announcement regarding funding for the Eurobodalla hospital and provision of extended medical services the media were given the chance to ask other questions. A question asked was "One of the things that brings people to hospital regularly here is car accidents on the Princes Highway. Will a Shorten Labor government commit to an 80-20 funding agreement, with whatever New South Wales Government we have, to make provide for dual carriageway all the way to the border?" Mention in particular was made of the "The Falkholt crash” with an invitation to come “to our office where we can show you a story map of all of the crashes that happened on the highway in 2018” That Fairfax Fix It Now map is now compiled and on line. On close inspection there are major questions as to whether the ROAD was responsible for any of these accidents listed below in the Eurobodalla. Note that the Average Daily Traffic Count for 2017 between Narooma and Moruya was 4732 PER DAY [1.7m per year] and Nth of Batemans Bay was 8119 PER DAY [2.9m per year]. In the scheme of things the total accidents recorded by Fairfax below over 2 years with 1 fatality suggests that the ROAD might not be the issue and that what possibly should be FIXED is the way the road is driven. In the Eurobodalla over two years they list the following: January 8, 2017—Brushgrove Lane Teen dead, four injured in head-on crash—Road to blame? October 14, 2017 - Hwy & Brou Tip Rd Two cars crashed headon, two people injured. — Road to blame? November 16, 2018 - Sth of Bodalla—Truck veers to avoid tree on road — Road to blame? November 22, 2018—Sth of Bodalla—Car in paddock, one hurt. — Road to blame? Raining Yes. February 19, 2018 —Lawlers Creek —Car crashes into tree —Road to blame? Raining Yes. November 18, 2017—Two cars crashed, four people were injured. Turlinjah —Road to blame? May 5, 2018 - Motorbike collides with car. Tuross Intersection —Road to blame? NO October 20, 2017 - Single vehicle hit tree Begalia—Road to blame? On straight—Yes November 7, 2018—3 car accident—CBD Vulcan and Queen Street—Road to blame? Raining Yes September 4, 2018—Moruya CBD Motorcyclist trapped under car—Road to blame? NO January 15, 2018—Campervan rolls on Mad Mile—no one hurt —Road to blame? July 10, 2018—Car veers into ditch at Cranbrook Road BBay CBD —Road to blame? May 16, 2018—Princes Hwy & Cullendulla Dr, Car and motorbike collide, 1 hurt —Road to blame? Yes, there have been horrid crashes however the continued Fix it Now slogan makes you wonder “Fix What and in what order?” The RMS and Police have excellent statistics of where the accident blackspots are and they know the probabilities and traffic volumes and there is no doubt they are working to fix those spots by design or policing. In the meantime bodies such as Councils, the NRMA & SEATS are looking at whole of network improvements; lobbying accordingly. It is about reporting though and showing figures for what they are. Consider the Safer Roads Program as example. The Safer Roads Program is a partnership between the Transport for NSW Centre for Road Safety and Roads and Maritime Services to deliver safer roads infrastructure throughout NSW. In 2018-19, the program will carry out 180 road safety infrastructure upgrade projects throughout the state to the value of $70.9 million, as part of a total program spend of $713 million over 10 years. ..... and how much of that $70.9m goes to the South East of Bega and Eurobodalla north of Batemans Bay bridge... $2.4 ? The South Coast has known for decades that the Federal Government committed to the upgrade of the notorious Pacific Highway and that commitment has seen massive improvements in that primary network and dramatic reductions in accidents and loss of life. As per the continuing statements from the Federal Government, whoever is in power, their commitment is to see the Pacific Highway project completed and then move their focus to roads such as the Barton Highway and then to the lesser used Princes Highway, Snowy and Kings. The primary thing that everyone needs to focus on is the ongoing commitment and to having an established plan of works based on a whole of network overview with measurable and transparent priorities based on delivery of safety and functionality. Of interest was the response of Mike Kelly MP - Member for Eden Monaro on Monday Feb 5th in Mrouya "So to follow on, it is always going to be our ambition to continue that work, to continue working towards those objectives for the Princes Highway. We're fortunate now we can work with the Canberra joint regional organisation made up of the local councils, who prioritise the order of road works for us to inform the political processes. Right now, they've stuck the Barton Highway at the top of that list. (Note: Eurobodalla and Bega Councils are part of that Canberra joint regional organisation) "So we will continue to work with the councils on their priorities, but it will always be the focus of Labor Governments who have been the ones who have invested and put skin in the game on the Princes Highway and great results will be seen right across this region." If only the Council staff had carried out Councillor Constable's adopted motion we would be two years ahead and proactive instead of still being reactive by funding isolated demands to "Fix it NOW", as has been the case over the last eighteen months. Until next Lei

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