The scene of a fatal accident on the New England Hwy, north of Warwick.
The scene of a fatal accident on the New England Hwy, north of Warwick. Jeremy Sollars

Highway? The track from Warwick to NSW rated 'third world'

ALMOST half of the New England Highway between Warwick and the New South Wales border does not meet the safety standard for a developed country, a new national report reveals.

The RACQ used yesterday's release of the latest Australian Road Assessment Program (AusRAP) report to slam the condition of the New England, which has been given the lowest ratings of one and two stars.

The AusRAP report assesses the safety performance of national highways across Australia against a star-rating scale, with five stars being the best and one the worst.

RACQ Executive Manager of Public Policy Michael Roth said 46 percent of the New England Highway from Warwick to the border was rated one and two stars, "well below the acceptable safety standard for a developed country".

The report's release comes as former Queensland Senator and now lower house hopeful for the seat of New England Barnaby Joyce prepares to visit the region tomorrow to inspect another horror link - the Mt Lindesay Rd between Legume and Woodenbong.

Mr Roth said Warwick motorists' "worst suspicions" had been confirmed.

"Key highway links in your region have been given safety ratings below the minimum acceptable standard of three stars," he said.

"The highway has several features that pose severe risks to motorists - it is an undivided road with narrow sealed shoulders, frequent intersections and hazardous roadsides.

"As we ramp up our 'Demand Better Roads' campaign in the lead up to the federal election, we're calling on both sides of politics to commit $39 million for the New England Highway.

"This would form part of a $1.47 billion contribution we're seeking for upgrades across the state's entire national highway network."

Mr Roth said AusRAP estimates that the safety upgrades would prevent 200 fatalities and serious injuries on the New England Highway over 20 years.

"The New England Highway is very unforgiving of driver error because of its lack of safety features," Mr Roth said.

"While motorists have a responsibility to drive safely they will make mistakes and should not have to pay for them with their lives.

"AusRAP's program of safety improvements must be implemented to lift the star ratings and reduce deaths and injuries.

"We just need the federal funding to make it happen."

The full AusRAP report can be viewed at http://www.racq.com.au/ausrap.

 

Safety issues

The RACQ says the safety improvements required on the New England Highway include:

  • Safety barriers
  • Removal of roadside hazards
  • Central median barriers
  • Audio tactile line markings (rumble strips)
  • Intersection improvements
  • Lane duplication
  • Lane widening
  • Road surface improvements
  • Signalised crossings
  • Shoulder sealing


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