Sunday, March 01, 2015

Years of Local Roadworks Planned

We live up a private road off the Princes Highway. This is part of  Route 1 which is a system of highways that circumnavigates the Australian continent, a distance of 14,500km (9000mi). It is the longest national highway in the world.
Our section runs from Sydney in the north to Melbourne in the south and west onto Port Augusta in South Australia for a total of 1950km.
It is not however the major Sydney to Melbourne route. That honor goes to the inland Hume Highway, Route 31, which is shorter and very much quicker being a four lane freeway almost the whole way.
The Princes Highway for much of its length is a basic two lane road. In parts it is very narrow and winding with narrow bridges (see pic below) and gives little opportunity to overtake.
It can be a pretty dangerous road and carries a lot of traffic including heavy transport.
There are numerous accidents every year along the New South Wales part of the road, many of them fatal.
Gradually it is being improved with freeway type sections, wider bridges and overtaking lanes. But this has been a slow process due to priority given to other highways.
Our Creek Bridge Looking North Along Highway 1

The section just to the north of our turnoff has a narrow bridge across our creek and a long sweeping bend down into and out of a gully.
The safety barriers around the bend and across the creek are continually being damaged by cars and trucks hitting them after taking the corners too fast. There have been a few nasty accidents on the bridge's approaches. Sometimes being on the bridge with a big semi coming the other way at speed can initiate a heart in mouth moment.
One of our neighbours and his son were severely injured after being rear ended on part of the blind corner while waiting to turn into their property a few years ago.

It was eventually decided by the state government that this section of road should be straightened and the bridge widened.
This was subject to considerable resident action and a little bit of a battle, starting way back in 2007, to get things right.
Now the project is finally off the ground.
The bend will be taken out, a new much wider bridge built and we will have a turn off lane so we can enter our road more safely from the north.
Cost: $21million
Duration: 18 months
One of the downsides is the removal of hundreds of mature gum trees that have to make way for the construction. The landscape on the approach to our property will now be changed for ever and that is a bit of a shock after 25 years residence.
Traffic restrictions are already in place (only one lane open with a controlled alternate traffic flow) so it will be a long 18 months of slow traffic trying to get into town especially at holiday time.
And they have just announced that a much needed new bridge will be built over the Lake Burrill estuary, again, between us and town.
That will cost $50million and will start early 2016 and won't be finished until 2018.
More lengthy holdups at times, I guess.
Looks like we may be heading south to Batemans Bay to do much of our 'town business'.
All this big spending activity in our area might have the more cynical of us thinking a state government election may be coming up.
Wait a minute, there is....... in a few weeks.

No comments: