A motorcycle and truck collided at the intersection of the Bruxner Highway, Cowlong and Alphadale Roads at Alphadale in 2013. Photo Cathy Adams / The Northern Star
A motorcycle and truck collided at the intersection of the Bruxner Highway, Cowlong and Alphadale Roads at Alphadale in 2013. Photo Cathy Adams / The Northern Star

Intersection ‘instils fear’, but Lismore MP has a plan

WITH its "terrible accident history", this stretch of Bruxner Highway between Lismore and Alstonville is on the map for all the wrong reasons.

So much so, Lismore MP Janelle Saffin is now lobbying the NSW Government to invest "the $1.75 billion underspent Restart NSW funding" into a major realignment of the Bruxner Highway between Goonellabah and Wollongbar to bypass the notorious Alphadale crossroads black spot.

The long-time advocator of the issue again wrote to Regional Transport and Roads Minister Paul Toole this week, calling for Transport for NSW to advance the new alignment, which has languished on the drawing board despite partial resumption of a land corridor to enable it.

Ms Saffin said the intersection of the Bruxner with Alphadale Road to the south and Cowlong Road to the north had a terrible crash history and a bad near-miss reputation, one that instils fear in the travelling public, herself included.

"From 2000 until the present, a total of 36 accidents have been recorded, including five fatalities and others resulting in serious injury and involving multiple vehicles," Ms Saffin said.

"Sadly, a motorcyclist died in a collision 200m east of the crossroads last week and I extend my sincere condolences to his family and friends.

"The Bruxner caters for about 15,000 vehicles a day, reflecting strong population growth over recent decades, but this stretch of highway is no longer fit for purpose and it is endangering lives.

"I see this as a legacy issue which demands bold action rather than tinkering around the edges with Band-Aid treatments such as more safety signs, an acceleration lane for eastbound traffic, or a roundabout, for which Lismore City Council has made three unsuccessful funding nominations in the past three years."

Safety upgrades planned for dangerous road, but no timeframe

She said retired Lismore Base Hospital chief radiographer, Denys Wynn, recently approached her, and said "he was sick of the loss of human life on this stretch of highway, including the Richmond Hill turn-off to where he lives".

"Denys says he spent too much of his 36-year career taking X-rays of badly injured crash victims, and like me, he favours the more strategic approach of a major highway realignment which would bypass this black spot altogether," she said.

She said the approach also has the backing of the chairman of Lismore City Council's Traffic Advisory Committee, Cr Bill Moorhouse, a civil engineer with 45 years' experience.

While a realignment would require political will and major funding, Ms Saffin said it was a perfect fit for the NSW Government's Restart NSW Fund, established in 2011 to fund high-priority infrastructure projects.

"Thirty per cent of Restart NSW funding was meant to be targeted in regional and rural areas, and that target has never been met in any year since its inception. There is an underspend of $1.75 billion," Ms Saffin said.

Transport for NSW and Regional Transport and Roads Minister, Paul Toole have been approached for comment.