Call for action on Wentworth Falls crash zone

Blue Mountains councillors have joined with state member, Trish Doyle, to appeal for an urgent safety audit at the Great Western Highway intersection at Sinclair Cresent at Wentworth Falls.

It comes in the wake of the death of an 80-year-old Leura woman, at the intersection on Sunday June 28. Police said she was waiting for a safe gap in traffic about 5pm, attempting to turn right from Sinclair Crescent to head west onto the highway. She was hit by an east bound SUV, was trapped and needed Police Rescue to free her from her car. She died at the scene despite attempts by ambulance officers to save her.

A petition to the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian for traffic lights has also started on change.org. It has garnered almost 1000 signatures. Rory Keyes of Wentworth Falls started the petition and has encouraged others to sign, saying: "Enough is enough we need traffic lights at this intersection. So many horrible incidents happen at this intersection and it is really unsafe. Please sign this petition and make our voices heard."

Councillors Kerry Brown and Romola Hollywood received unanimous support for their urgency motions at the recent council meetings to write to Transport for NSW to seek a commitment for a safety upgrade to the area, including the nearby Scott Avenue turn-off.

Cr Brown said it is likely to need traffic lights to manage the two adjacent intersections.

"There have been other serious crashes here and at the nearby intersection with Scott Avenue," Cr Brown said.

"The crashes at these adjacent intersections are likely to increase as a result of the ongoing growth in tourism and planned duplication of the highway to accommodate the projected doubling of freight through Port Botany by 2031."

She said those with old cars knew the angst of trying to manoeuvre onto the highway at these traffic blackspots. She also asked for crash statistics at the site for the last decade.

Cr Hollywood said the state government needed to make any safety improvements revealed by any audit.

Blue Mountains MP Trish Doyle has already written to Roads Ministers Andrew Constance and Paul Toole asking for the safety audit as a matter of urgency. She is waiting to hear back from them.

"Since the resumption of intra-state travel, post fires and COVID-19, the highway is seeing an unprecedented volume of traffic at weekends and on holiday periods [and] can seem chaotic at particular points ... as a result drive behaviour can be based on panic, pressure and impatience," she wrote in the letters.

"The entire intersection from the entry/egress to Leura Crematorium, Sinclair Cresent and Scott Avenue needs an urgent safety audit."

Ms Doyle said the lack of guttering, near the crematorium turn-off was also an issue in wet weather. She has asked for an assessment about lengthening the slipway for cars turning into Sinclair from eastbound lanes.

Another fatal accident occurred on the same weekend at Medlow Bath near the highway. Ms Doyle said residents had been traumatised by the double fatality and had urged her to contact both ministers.

When asked for comment Regional Roads Minister Paul Toole re-directed the Gazette to Transport for NSW.

A Transport for NSW spokesman said they had conducted an initial safety investigation (which follows every fatal accident on state roads) and "suggests the crash was an isolated crash at the intersection of Sinclair Crescent and Great Western Highway".

He said Transport for NSW "discusses the findings at a monthly crash investigation meeting to determine if any further safety improvements can be carried out at the site and surrounding area".

He said the review would have looked at "crash history at the location and other factors including the current speed limit, the condition of the road, road geometry, weather conditions at the time of the crash, and traffic volumes on the road [and] determine if any immediate or future safety improvements are necessary."

"Safety is at the heart of everything Transport for NSW does and we carry out an initial safety inspection after every fatal crash on state roads to determine if immediate safety improvements are necessary."

The spokesman urged all motorists to drive safely and to the conditions, particularly with the start of school holiday travel on NSW roads.