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Wednesday, 6 December 2006
Page: 146

Mr BALDWIN (9:33 AM) —Today I rise in this House to raise the issue of the Pacific Highway. In the next couple of weeks the section between Karuah and Tea Gardens will be officially opened. Work will commence on the section between Tea Gardens and Bulahdelah next year by Abbey Group. But, as I have raised in this House before, there is an issue with the lack of initiative, direction and support by the Labor state government in New South Wales to build the flyover on the Myall Way turn-off. This week I received a letter from a Mr Turton of Hawks Nest. I will read it into the Hansard because it makes interesting reading. It was written to Eric Roozendaal, the state Minister for Roads. It reads:

We wish to register our concerns regarding the safety of the turn, off the Pacific Highway north of Karuah to Tea Gardens.

On the 29th November we travelled at night to Tea Gardens and when we approached the turn off mentioned, we were very confused as to where the actual turn off was, as the sign at the end of the lane redirected us to return to the Northbound single lane (which was itself a risk to us and any vehicle following us).

Even though there is a flashing yellow sign on the left, prior to the turn, the signage at the turn, is in between the North and South lanes set very high up and is not illuminated so as to give adequate visual notice of the turn. The confusion we encountered caused us to continue several kilometres north, until we could safely make a “U” turn back to the southbound exit.

Then, travelling again to Tea Gardens on the 3rd of December, towing a large trailer, we were aware of the difficulty of the turn, however as we had to wait in the crossover area for the heavy south bound traffic to clear before progressing, we had about seven cars and four wheel drives banked up behind us.

Should there have been a larger number of vehicles including caravans in the queue they would have blocked the north bound lane which is an extremely dangerous situation.

At Christmas, Easter and long weekends the “turning lane” traffic will be banked up and over flowing, well into the northbound lane, a situation any driver in the affected lane would dread.

There does not appear to have been adequate plans made for the amount of turning traffic during the peak periods mentioned and as residents of Hawks Nest, we are well aware of the population explosion at these times, more so it appears than the relevant planning authority.

Our hope is that there will be an overpass constructed before too long, as every time we use the now inadequate arrangement we feel we are putting our lives and others at risk.

If the communities of Tea Gardens and Hawks Nest can see there is a problem with this intersection which will expose people to serious safety risks in their motor vehicles, then I ask: why can’t the state government and the planning officials, who are paid hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in wages, understand that this is an issue? It is too late after a fatal accident occurs. The intersection is an absolute disgrace, a safety risk, and I condemn the state Labor government for planning and introducing it that way.