ONLY about a fifth of the state government’s $5million budget allocation towards the Kings Highway will actually go towards improving its safety.
A spokesman for Roads Minister Duncan Gay confirmed only about $1.1million would be spent on road resurfacing, while $3.2million would go towards the construction of noise walls along the highway in Queanbeyan. The remaining funds would be spent fixing minor works along the road.
NRMA regional director Alan Evans said he was extremely disappointed with the government’s distribution of its funding. ‘‘I appreciate some people will have less noise from the traffic, but the fact is that highway needs acceptable funds to [improve its safety],’’ he said. ‘‘It will fix a few potholes but not much else. If you want to get a really decent highway, you need two zeros on the end of the five (million).’’
Palerang Council general manager Peter Bascomb said the money allocated towards road resurfacing would just be part of the Roads and Maritime Services’ normal program. ‘‘To me it doesn’t sound like new money,’’ he said. About 12 people have died on the notorious highway since 2005.
Five people were killed during the same March weekend in two separate incidents, prompting Member for Monaro John Barilaro and Mr Gay to launch a safety review. A draft copy of the report is expected to be submitted to the government by the end of August.
Earlier this month the road was voted the worst in south-eastern NSW in Australia’s largest road survey conducted by NRMA, where local drivers listed the highway’s poor road surface, narrow lanes and traffic congestion problems as their biggest concerns.
Mr Bascomb said there were many areas of the highway that needed urgent attention, particularly east of Braidwood and at the top of Clyde Mountain. He said pavement work and the widening of the road near Braidwood was necessary for sealed verges to prevent drivers from swerving into gravel.
Rumble strips to wake sleepy motorists and safety barriers in certain areas were also needed. Mr Barilaro said he would be calling for more funding in the future to improve the road.