Killer corner

As politicians and officials from various levels of government gathered in Port Macquarie for a second summit on the state of the Pacific Highway, the infamous road claimed another life just south of Bangalow yesterday.

Early yesterday morning, a semi-trailer rolled on the notorious Sandy Flat bend at Tintenbar, killing the driver instantly.

Police are yet to formally identify the man who died when his north-bound rig failed to negotiate the sweeping left-hand bend at 3.30am and rolled onto the driver's side.

The Lindsay Brothers Transport truck then skidded on its side for 50 metres and across the wrong side of the road, striking a guard rail.

The impact with the steel rail cut the cabin in half before the vehicle, carrying frozen food products, came to rest upside down in a roadside embankment.

It is the second fatal crash on that corner in the last five years. There have been six other non-fatal accidents since 2000.

The latest accident occurred one day after the NSW Minister for Roads, Joe Tripodi, visited the region amid calls from the Northern Rivers Regional Organisation of Councils (NOROC) and the NRMA to fast-track the upgrade of the Pacific Highway.

It also coincided with a NOROC summit held in Port Macquarie yesterday to link more councils south of the Northern Rivers in with the campaign to have the highway upgraded to dual carriageway within 10 years.

The upgrade includes construction of the Ballina bypass, a project that would cut the Sandy Flat bend out of the highway route.

Ballina MP Don Page said the project had been delayed by the state government's failure to commit specific funding.

Mr Page said the federal government had already offered to fund half of the bypass cost, but the NSW government "won't come up with their half".

NOROC president Ernie Bennett said the importance of upgrading the highway quickly was reinforced when yesterday's summit heard of the latest Pacific Highway fatality.

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