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July 31, 2003
Safety and speed letter to council
Kali sent the following letter to council about safety and speed issues on the highway.
Dear Byron Council,
I am writing on behalf of the Tyagarah Progress Association (Tyagarah Sustainable Community Alliance). Since the Yelgun / Chinderah upgrade, our community has been subject to greatly increased noise coming from the Pacific Highway as well as increased safety concerns with regard to local traffic driving amongst heavy trucking traffic. We have made numerous attempts to address these issues with the RTA, including personal meetings with Bob Higgins and Min. Carl Skully. As a result of our efforts, combined with other communities up and down the highway we have been included into the RTA Task Force facilitated by Jay Stricker.
The resulting draft report from the task force ended up excluding Tyagarah completely from any motions to address the noise issues in our area. Our Task Force representative, Richard Burford expressed our strong dismay of this and Ms. Stricker arranged a meeting between Tyagarah and Bob Higgins. We have since come up with what we feel is an easy, economical and intelligent solution to both the noise and safety issue of traffic on the Pacific Highway with regard specifically to the stretch of highway between Brunswick Heads and Ewingsdale and would like to bring that solution to your attention for your support and representation.
As the Byron Shire Council is a member of the RTA Task Force we request your active support on the following motion by representing our position in your dealings with the Task Force.
We in Tyagarah would like to put forward the recommendation that all trucks travelling on the Pacific Highway, both travelling north and south between the Mullumbimby interchange and the Byron interchange, be required to lower their driving speed to 80 km per hour along with speed cameras (very importantly) to support the compliance to that speed. At the moment, trucks are using that stretch to speed up, moving at speeds up to 114 km/hr. Most of them are trying to gain speed for the Ewingsdale hill. This means we have trucks moving at unreasonable speeds, using compression braking and creating more noise and danger in an area that should be allowed. We feel this will be the most economically intelligent solution to both the noise and the safety issue. Please keep the following important safety points in mind with regard to lowering truck speeds:
The intersection between Grays Lane and the Pacific Highway: Local traffic moving north, exiting to get on Grays Lane must grapple with fast trucks to move over, slow down and exit. Local traffic coming off Grays Lane to cross over to head north is also dangerous as traffic has no access ramp to speed up. The combination of fast trucks and a dangerous intersection is a nightmare waiting to happen for both highway traffic and Tyagarah traffic.
The intersection between Tyagarah Road and the Pacific Hwy: it is also dangerous for the same reasons, no access ramp, no stop sign at the Tyagarah Road just before the highway and exiting southbound Pac. Hwy traffic must grapple with fast traffic on the fast lane to exit.
Cows on the highway on this stretch is a REAL risk. Recently I was at the Grays Lane / Pacific Highway intersection late at night and about 30 cows were wandering around on the highway. It took the police 40 minutes to answer the call. By then a B-double had a very near miss and there was one totaled car and two dead cows. The NRMA man who appeared first on the scene told me that this was the third or fourth call about loose cows in that stretch of highway in Tyagarah over the last few months. Just two nights ago, cows were again loose on the Grays Ln / Pac. Hwy intersection! Please check police records and you will see the appalling number of reports of cows on this stretch of highway.
Another point is that I have had TWO reports this week from farmers who are agisting cows on their land, who's fences were damaged by trucks etc. working on the upgrade. Even though complaints were made to RTA, fences have still not been fixed. This means we could see even more cows on the highway.
The parachutists and ultra lights landing create a scene where people always watch them coming in for landing, especially tourists - while they are driving.
The last point on this is that tourist traffic is moving in a different mind set at that stretch, they are coming into Bryon, slowing down to make the exit, slowing down to see everything and so they don't miss the exit if they are new to the area, slowing down to get to the beach at Grays. Byron is the main place this tourist traffic is going so a LARGE percentage of traffic is actually trying to slow down, while the truckers are trying to go for it.
In summary, the highway is not only a transport and tourist highway, it is also a community interchange that is highly "interactive." This stretch between Brunswick and Byron Bay is anywhere BUT the place for trucks to be driving fast, let alone driving over 100 kms. We feel quite urgent about this issue and request the support of the Byron Council to support a reduction of trucking speeds to avert a disastrous situation.
Please contact me to advise as how best to proceed along with you to make this change happen.
Posted at July 31, 2003 12:00 AM
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