Tomakin Road speed limit reduction : Why isn't Council listening and representing
Eurobodalla Council Public Access 27th June 2023 Submission from the Tomakin Road Resident Group Re: Tomakin Road speed limit reduction Tomakin Road was originally an unsealed road where residents drove to the conditions. After it was sealed it was given a 100km/hr speed limit. In early 2020, every resident received a letter stating that there were a high number of accidents on Tomakin Road, that it was a dangerous road and not to standard for a 100km/hr road. Council announced they had secured funding to upgrade the road over 3 years to improve safety for all users. Surprisingly, there was no mention of a speed limit reduction. We door-knocked every resident on the road and ended up providing Eurobodalla Shire Council (Council) and Transport for NSW (TfNSW) with a petition containing 56 signatures asking for the road speed to be reduced from 100Km/hr to 80Km/hr. The accompanying letter from the newly formed Tomakin Road Residents Group stated residents felt unsafe on the road, and that lowering the speed limit would be an immediate improvement in safety for all users including pedestrians and cyclists. This begun three years of correspondence and meetings with staff from Operations at Council and TfNSW. Note: Councillors were given appendix 1 which has images of historical accidents and appendix 2 which is the 20 pages of correspondence. In the NSW Speed Zone Guidelines, it is implied that a rural road with a number of private driveways should have a speed limit of no more than 80km/hr. Tomakin Road has 32 private driveways, a zoo, a new distillery, a caravan park, Woodlands Lane, Dunns Creek Road, Somerset Place and 2 school bus stops. Reducing travel speed from 100km/hr to 80km/hr reduces the stopping distance by 20 metres and reaction distance by 9 metres. And the only cost is a few new speed signs. In the case of head-on collisions, reducing the speed is significantly more effective by a factor of 9. The speed reduction would add a mere 30 seconds to commute time. Since we began correspondence there have been 6 accidents on one corner alone, the corner before the Zoo. The last head on collision there almost catapulted the car into one of the residents back garden where her children play. Residents on the road daily fear for their lives when entering or leaving their driveways. One resident was recently hit from behind by a truck while waiting to enter his driveway. Road works then began and the Council Works compound occupied the school bus stop and waiting area at the corner of Dunns Creek road. Parents and children were made to wait on the bitumen with cars whizzing past. We were told that a number of trees were to be removed and witnessed large hollow bearing trees going through the wood-chipper with no ecologist on site when trees were felled. We wrote to council about both these issues and neither were satisfactorily addressed. Parents had to organise an alternative safe bus stop themselves. The waiting area remains dangerous due to cars taking short-cuts through the site. The head on collision here in Sept 22 was with such force the car drove through the bus stop and ended up 100m into the paddock against a tree. TfNSW responded to us in July 2020 that a review of the existing speed limit would be undertaken. However, after consulting with Council, they advised us they will undertake and finalise the speed review once Council’s upgrade is complete. The road is currently not to standard for a 100km/hr road. While works are underway there is the added danger of changing road conditions. Waiting to review the speed limit when the upgrade is complete in 3 years was unacceptable. After raising this concern with Council and the traffic committee, we were advised they do not have the authority to set or review speed limits as these fall under the jurisdiction of TfNSW. We were then referred back to TfNSW. We were told repeatedly that Council could do nothing, however direct actions by Council to reduce the speed on Eurobodalla roads is clearly stated and discussed in your current Road Safety Plan. This plan states it is the Council’s job to advocate on behalf of the community on road safety matters.
It also states it is currently: 1) Advocating to TfNSW to implement 30km/hr speed zones in Moruya and Batemans Bay CBDs 2) Receiving grant funding to implement speed control measures in both CBD areas. 3) Advocating to TfNSW to implement a new lower general speed limit on all unsealed roads in Eurobodalla. Council announced in a recent newsletter that they had successfully worked with TfNSW to reduce the speed in Moruya CBD to 30km/hr. Council’s Road Safely Plan also states that speed was the causal factor in 71% of the recent serious accidents in Eurobodalla including the 13 on Tomakin Road in their review period. It also states that Council is a roads authority and therefore has a responsibility under the Local Government Act 1993, Roads Act 1993 and Civil Liability Act 2002, to contribute positively to providing a safe and efficient transport network. Perhaps Councillors should have a look at Woodlands Lane where no road maintenance has been done for 40 years. In our last meeting and subsequent correspondence in June 2021, we requested a temporary 80km/hr speed limit be implemented along the entire road from now until the end of the road works when the speed review would be carried out by TfNSW. This request was at first taken for consideration by Council and then not granted. In Nov 2021 we were finally informed that Council would advocate for us to TfNSW to have the speed review carried out as soon as practical. This is the last we heard of the matter, two year ago. I have highlighted the relevant sections about these matters in red in appendix 2. Considering the recent tragic events, the death three weeks ago, we would like a temporary 80/km speed limit installed today for the entire road and for Council to immediately advocate for us to Transport for NSW on this matter.