NSW Opposition Leader John Robertson put the government’s management of truck movements on Hawkesbury Road on the political agenda last week, meeting residents worried about safety on the busy road.
Drivers on the bends of Hawkesbury Road have raised concerns about the serious risks of heavy vehicles crossing to the wrong side of the road as they negotiate the narrow corners. The Roads and Maritime Service removed the centre lines on the bends late last year which residents say has only increased the problem.
“Local residents are right to feel as though the RMS is giving tacit approval for certain drivers to use excessive speed and ignore common safety measures [by removing the double lines],” said Mr Robertson.
“I am deeply concerned that if heavy vehicles continue to cross on the wrong side of the road to save an extra few moments on their journey then there is significant risk a motor vehicle accident will occur.”
Mr Robertson was joined by Labor’s Blue Mountains spokeswoman Trish Doyle and Labor’s Federal candidate for Macquarie, Susan Templeman.
“When you talk to people who drive on Hawkesbury Road, particularly those who live on it, the issue of road safety comes up almost every time,” said Ms Templeman.
“With four schools on the 10km road, driver safety is paramount both on the Winmalee stretch and also for those people driving down from the Mountains via the bends,” she said.
“The solution would be for a proper review of the road by the RMS, with a view to enforcing the road rules, including a return to the centre lane markings on the bends and looking at other engineering options.”
Ms Templeman suggested the issue wasn’t a “top priority” for Blue Mountains MP Roza Sage, a claim hotly disputed by the Liberal MP.
“I certainly welcome the interest by the NSW Labor Party on what has been a long standing issue on Hawkesbury Road, this is not a new issue . . . I have actively requested limits on Haweksbury Road and have worked constructively with RMS rather than simply appearing for photo opportunities,” said Mrs Sage.
She said the RMS has been consulting about ways to improve safety on the road since 2012 and had introduced new safety measures.
“RMS removed the centre line marking on the four hairpin bends so that the trucks could slow down and navigate the bends legally and installed reflective buttons to give additional guidance, installed markers on back of guardrails to improve visibility, [and] placed additional safety signs prior to bends,” she said.
“RMS understands some members of the local community in Hawkesbury Road at Springwood want to ban trucks from driving on Hawkesbury Road which would mean it would no longer perform as a state road. RMS will continue to monitor the road and work with the community on potential safety initiatives.”
Mrs Sage she would continue to “advocate constructively for residents needs for the ongoing use of Hawkesbury Road”.
And she said she would “welcome council’s added support to putting length and/or road limits on the road”. Blue Mountains City Council was due to debate the issue at its meeting last night.
A Facebook page titled Safer Hawkesbury Road has been set up to lobby on the issue.