THE Kings Highway has been voted the worst road in south-eastern NSW, according to Australia’s largest road survey.
Local drivers listed the highway’s poor road surface, narrow lanes and traffic congestion problems as their biggest concerns in the NRMA’s Seeing Red on Roads campaign.
It comes only weeks after five people were killed in traffic accidents along the highway during a weekend in March. That horror weekend prompted Monaro MP John Barilaro and NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay to launch a safety review into the road.
‘‘The Kings Highway is considered a priority by the NSW government, however, there are several roads across the state with worse fatality figures and in greater need of improvement,’’ Mr Barilaro said at the time.
Public submissions into the review closed on May 16, and an inspection of the highway by NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) staff, emergency services staff, traffic experts and community representatives was carried out last week.
A Roads and Maritime Service spokesman told the Queanbeyan Age that an experienced and qualified road safety specialist had been engaged to manage the review process, with a draft safety review to be submitted to the state government by the end of August.
But Palerang Council general manager Paul Bascomb told the Age in March that a recent safety review into the highway was carried out by the NSW Roads and Transport Authority in 2009.
‘‘I welcome the state government’s interest (in the highway), but the RTA undertook a review in September 2009 identifying a whole list of issues, and broke them into short and long term priorities. I believe that review is sufficient – what’s missing now is the funding,’’ he said.
‘‘They need to look at the road how it is now – the third deadliest road in NSW. The review they need to do is whether the spending on the Kings Highway is proportional to that accident rate, compared to other roads such as the Princes Highway and the Pacific Highway.’’
The Kings Highway not only topped the NRMA’s list as the worst road for the region this week but was also voted the third worst in all of NSW.
NRMA local director Alan Evans said drivers were becoming increasingly frustrated with the poor condition of south-eastern roads.
‘‘Local drivers have had enough of driving on roads that are in desperate need of repair and never seem to have enough road space,’’ he said.
‘‘Nobody denies the enormous task at hand to tackle the infrastructure needs of the region, but we need a plan that sets timeframes and priorities for upgrading roads and makes it clear how they will be funded.’’
Other highways making up the NRMA’s five worst roads in this part of the state included the Barton Highway at Murrumbateman, Majura Road at Majura, the Hume Highway at Yarra, and the Monaro Highway at Fyshwick.