Newell Highway Task Force welcomes Road Safety Plan

Meeting: Newell Highway Task Force members Cr Graeme Miller, Cr Doug Batten, John Zannes, Lila Fisher, RMS western region director Alistair Lunn, Craig Moffitt, Dubbo-based John Morris, Luke McDermott. Photo contributed.
Meeting: Newell Highway Task Force members Cr Graeme Miller, Cr Doug Batten, John Zannes, Lila Fisher, RMS western region director Alistair Lunn, Craig Moffitt, Dubbo-based John Morris, Luke McDermott. Photo contributed.

The Newell Highway Task Force wants to see some of a new $125 million pot of funding directed towards more centre line separation along the major road corridor.

The group’s members discussed the NSW government’s newly-released Road Safety Plan at its meeting at Gilgandra on Wednesday.

Among the plan’s suite of measures to receive support from task force chairman and Parkes Shire mayor Ken Keith was wide centre lines and audio tactile “rumble” markings.

Cr Keith commended roads minister Melinda Pavey for the plan.

“I think everyone is concerned about the rise in accidents,” he said.

The government has outlined an initial $125 million for a new Saving Lives on Country Roads program including safety barriers, tactile line markings, wide centre line, and safety upgrades of high-risk curves.

“We’d like to think some of the $125 million will go to the Newell and the rollout of some more centre line separation,” Cr Keith said.

He reported new sections of works, such as the Newell Highway realignment at Trewilga between Parkes and Dubbo, were benefiting from those treatments, but he wanted to see them on existing roads.

We’d like to think some of the $125 million will go to the Newell and the rollout of some more centre line separation.

Newell Highway Task Force chairman Ken Keith

The task force will continue to push for more overtaking lanes, with Cr Keith reporting another four had been completed in the past six months, and a total of 18 since the group began.

The plan’s suite of measures also outlines amending legislation to allow camera technology to be used to enforce mobile phone offences.

That makes good sense to Cr Keith, who said the main variation in factors of recent times had been the advent of mobile phones.

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“I’m not an expert, but a suite of measures that looks at a range of things to bring the road toll down. . . I think we’ve got to do everything we can,” he said.

“And if that impinges on people using their phones while they’re driving, so be it.

“If you’ve got an important phone call, pull over, then afterwards resume your journey.”

At the meeting Cr Keith was re-elected to the position of chairman, Bland Shire mayor Tony Lord will serve as vice-chairman and Bland Shire Council’s Jeff Stien as secretary.