Road of death -- Calls to fix notorious road


TWO families on opposite sides of the world were yesterday coming to grips with the deaths of loved ones on the notorious Tweed Valley Way.

The two men, one a motorcyclist from %Canada, the other a 20-year-old Currumbin local, were the fourth and fifth crash victims on the 40 kilometre stretch of road in just 11 months. Eleven people were killed on Tweed/Byron LAC roads up to the start of September. As of November 4, the NSW road toll stands at 496 road deaths.

Yesterday, police had not released the victims' names. It is understood officers were waiting for confirmation from Interpol that the Canadian man's family had been properly informed of his death.

It is believed the names of both victims will be released today.

At least five people have been killed on Tweed Valley Way this year, but there have been more than 100 reported crashes along the stretch of road in the past two years.

Included in those crashes was the horrific incident early last year which claimed the lives of schoolboy brothers Kieran and Jordan Thomas of Murwillumbah.

Tweed MP Geoff Provest said yesterday that it was time to act on the increasingly "deadly stretch of road".

"I will be calling on Parliament to look at our options here," Mr Provest said.

"I want to see the statistics that identify the causes of these accidents and look at our options.

"I would support any push for an upgrade to the road including better exit and on-ramps and I would definitely support more fixed speed cameras along the Tweed Valley Way."

In May, Tumbulgum Community Association president David Bennett called for the speed limit on the old highway, which is 100 km/h in most areas, to be lowered. At the time, Mr Bennett and a local highway patrol officer said some motorists were treating the Tweed Valley Way as an "unofficial race track".

"It's not a highway any more but it is still used as such and the speed limit remains the same," Mr Bennett said at the time.

Mr Provest, who backed calls for a lower speed limit at the time, has now backed away from lowering the speed limit after consultation with other community groups.

Tweed Shire Council's road safety officer Ray Clark said the number of crashes along the Tweed Valley Way had decreased since the new highway opened in 2002, but residents living near the scenic route had approached council with concerns.

"In an ideal world people would obey the road rules," Mr Clark said.

"We address road safety issues in three ways, engineering, education and enforcement.

"I personally would back the introduction of speed cameras along the Tweed Valley Way. They do act as a major deterrent."

Police from the Ballina Crash Unit are still investigating the cause of Sunday's crash. Investigators were yesterday speaking with witnesses to the collision.

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