Byron Shire Council says it will be the second half of next year at earliest before it is in a position to undertake a speed review of sections of dangerous Coolamon Scenic Drive, let alone make changes to signage or line marking.
Coolamon resident Anthony Stante, who was also a project manager on the Ballina Bypass upgrade from 2007-11, says he was horrified to discover recently that the road had been added to the Hinterland Way tourist route without the review, promised in 2015, having even been commenced.
Byron council’s traffic committee recommended in February 2015, ‘That a review of delineation measures, such as guide posts, advisory curve markers, speeds, and line centre marking etc be undertaken and implemented as found warranted on Coolamon Scenic Drive, between Goonengerry Road and the Pacific Highway.’
But that review has yet to be started, and could still be as much as 18 months away, according to the council.
‘We have waited for action for 30 months, Mr Stante told Echonetdaily.
‘In the meantime, council amazingly agreed with RMS to signpost an extension of Tourist Route 28 from the old highway right the way along bringing even more tourists to our substandard local road.
‘Residents were not consulted on this extension to the tourist route,’ he said.
23 crashes in 5 years
In particular, Mr Stante is concerned about a 11.3km length of road, which the council says averages 1,362 vehicles per day.
The traffic committee recognised at the time that the stretch of road had seen ‘23 crashes in the five years to 30 June 2013 (18 of them leaving road/out of control, 13 due to speed).’
But the committee also admitted that the RMS would need to fund, or advise of further funding options, for the review and changes to signage and line marking.
Mr Stante said residents had also ‘consulted with RMS seeking Black Spot funding to assist Council with the work.’
‘In the meantime, we keep getting run off our local road, our school buses and kids are put in danger by impatient speeding drivers,’ he said.
‘It’s a popular tourist route also used by many impatient locals. How many more incidents or worse will it take to get well overdue action from Council?,’ Mr Stante said.
Byron council responds
Byron Shire Council’s director of infrastructure services, Phil Holloway, said Mr Stante’s requests for works on Coolamon Scenic Road ‘are part of the 2017/18 budget proposal.’
He said that, if approved, the $30,000 will ‘provide a speed review of the 11 kilometre stretch of road and help fund the review outcomes such as signage and line marking. ‘
Mr Holloway said whilst he understood Mr Stante’s frustration, ‘if the proposed budget for 2017/18 was adopted, the work could commence.’
Mr Stante said, ‘Residents fully support attracting more tourists to the area but demand overdue safety measures to be installed as recommended many months ago by our local traffic committee.’