As summer warms up, traveller numbers are surging on the Kings Highway from Canberra to the NSW South Coast. During this time, a partnership between Eurobodalla Shire Council, Shoalhaven City Council, Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council, ACT Policing, NSW Police, Transport Canberra and City Services, and Transport for NSW is aiming to reduce road trauma.
ACT Policing and the Kings Highway Road Safety Partnership launched their annual campaign on Friday, 18 December, targeting drivers travelling the 150km between Canberra and Batemans Bay.
The partnership began in 2008, and since then the Kings Highway road toll has halved.
With COVID-19 and no international travel, more regional tourism is already being experienced and the South Coast is a popular destination. The Batemans Bay Chamber of Commerce is encouraging visitors back to the area after the Black Summer bushfires and subsequent hit to local business trade.
On New Year’s Eve, between 6pm and midnight, Batemans Bay Chamber of Commerce will host Light Up the Bay, with light displays around the Batemans Bay foreshore area and thousands of coloured lights projected onto buildings and trees, as well as festoon lights and beaming light into the sky. There will also be buskers and performers at three locations.
Australian Federal Police officer in charge of road policing, Detective Inspector Marcus Boorman, said police are expecting greater numbers on the Kings Highway this year as people look to travel following a year confined to Canberra due to COVID-19.
“The holiday season always sees an increase in the number of motorists on the Kings Highway as people travel between Canberra and the South Coast,” he said. “With the challenges that 2020 has brought due to COVID-19, there is potential for those numbers to be even greater these Christmas holidays.
“I would urge anyone travelling on the Kings Highway this summer to take care, and to remember that even a minor lapse in concentration or judgement can have tragic, catastrophic consequences.
“Drivers should be mindful there may be delays on the Kings Highway due to traffic volume, and to drive to the conditions,” he said. “Please also take regular breaks – there are rest areas and driver-reviver stations along the route to the coast.
“I’d also encourage drivers to watch their speed, and ask themselves, “Who are you rushing to meet?”
The NRMA is reminding motorists in NSW and ACT to drive safely and to remember that double demerit points are in place for 11 days during the Christmas and New Year holidays, from 24 December, 2020, to 3 January, 2021, inclusive. There is an extra public holiday on Monday, 28 December, due to Boxing Day falling on a Saturday.
The intersection of Kings Highway and Princes Highway now has a traffic light system for added safety.
ACT Policing and NSW Police will work closely to provide a coordinated approach to traffic enforcement on the Kings Highway, and will actively target dangerous driving, including speeding, drink-driving and drug-driving.
The campaign will run until the end of January 2021.