Fatality on highway puts safety in spotlight
Police document the scene of a head on collision on the Barton highway between Hall and Murrumbateman on Friday. Photo: Katherine Griffiths
Friday's two-car accident on the Barton Highway, which resulted in the death of a 27-year-old from Holt, has again highlighted the need to improve safety on the 38-kilometre road connecting Canberra and Yass.
NRMA regional director Alan Evans said the motoring group had been advocating for more duplication of the road but little had happened to improve it.
''We've argued for some time that, given that heavy traffic, it's got to be a candidate for more duplication,'' he said. ''Many of the curves are not well engineered. They've done a lot on the Yass side of Murrumbateman but there's more needed to be done.''
Between 2006 and 2010, there were 132 recorded crashes on the highway, with 82 people injured or killed. A total of 32 per cent were injury crashes and 5 per cent were fatal.
Mr Evans said while the highway has high traffic in morning and afternoon peak times, it still falls short of meeting the amount of sustained traffic over a 24-hour period for the government to consider making it a dual carriageway.
''But there's numerous things you can do in the interim,'' he said.
''Have wire rope barriers down the centre on bad corners [and] widen corners.''
NSW Roads and Maritime Services has done the consultation and prepared reports for the future duplication of the highway but there is no indication of when it will happen.
Mr Evans expressed frustration at the reduced budget to undertake such upgrades.
''They reduced the funding for roads last budget, so that doesn't bode well for the future,'' he said.
''Our problem is we only get a small portion of the fuel excise we pay every time we fill up and it goes to the federal government.
''That's about $15 billion a year and only $3 billion a year comes back for roads … That's the part that annoys us. If we spent $15 billion on roads each year, it would certainly give Australia a far better road network.''