More than 2000 people have added their signatures to a petition calling for improvements to a notorious Tumut intersection.
The petition calling for additional safety measures at the intersection of the Gocup Road and Snowy Mountains Highway was tabled in the NSW Parliament last week by Member for Wagga Wagga Dr Joe McGirr.
The Gocup Road petition was launched by Dr McGirr in June after a tragic double-fatality accident in May, which increased calls from the community to have the intersection properly fixed.
“There has been an incredible response from the community,” said Dr McGirr. “I am very grateful for the amount of support the petition has received from people in the Snowy Valleys.
“I have now tabled this petition in parliament, and because we have collected more than 500 signatures, we are entitled to a government response.”
Last week’s action follows a recent visit to Tumut by NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole, who took a first-hand look at the intersection with Dr McGirr.
Minister Toole said his visit on 23 July also gave him the opportunity to speak with the local community and hear their feedback.
He said it is very clear the community has strong feelings about the intersection, and while upgrade work is currently underway, he has indicated he’d like to see more work done.
The new safety work to the intersection commenced on 18 May, 2020, just two days after a fatal accident claimed the life of a pregnant 29-year-old Canberra woman and one of her daughters, aged 10.
The current project includes removal of trees; upgraded line marking and vehicle-activated signs; installation of transverse thermoplastic ‘rumble strips’; replacement of give-way signs with stop signs; and installation of medians, kerbs and a safety barrier to improve safety and traffic flow through the junction.
This work is in addition to the earlier installation of vehicle-activated signs to improve safety on the Gocup Road approach to the Snowy Mountains Highway.
These current works are scheduled to be completed in August, weather permitting.
In May, Minister Toole also requested that Transport for NSW and the Centre for Road Safety undertake a priority review of the intersection in response to community concerns.
He has indicated this review will be completed soon and will provide recommendations for the best long-term solutions.
“It’s clear to me that the community has strong feelings about this intersection and, while appreciative of the current safety improvements, would like to see more done,” said Minister Toole.
Dr McGirr said the meeting was “very valuable”, and that in visiting, Minister Toole fulfilled a commitment he had previously made to do so. And while he has welcomed the commitment of the roads minister to review the intersection, he said it’s vital the NSW Government understands how important the issue is to the community.
“When we launched this petition, I hoped it would allow us to increase the pressure to make the review and upgrading of this intersection a priority to help avoid future tragedies,” said Dr McGirr.
“It is clear from the number of signatures we have on this petition that the people of Snowy Valleys are also hoping for urgent action.
“I’m now looking forward to Minister Toole’s reply.”
Another nearby intersection was also the site of Mr Toole’s July ministerial visit – the junction of Batlow Road and Snowy Mountains Highway.
The minister is now calling on Snowy Mountains residents and road users to have their say on that intersection.
He said the NSW Government is investigating additional options to reduce the frequency and severity of crashes in the area and community consultation is an important part of that process.
“The busy intersection west of Tumut is used by residents, commuters and visitors as it links to the Hume Highway, national parks and the Snowy Mountains to the south, and is a key freight route for timber and agricultural distribution,” said Minister Toole.
“Data shows the majority of fatalities on country roads are local residents, and this project aims to ensure those who set off on a journey return home safely.
“While work has been carried out previously to improve safety at the intersection, there’s still more to do.
“The community’s feedback will help Transport for NSW understand their needs and concerns and deliver the best outcome for them.”
Residents can go online to access an interactive map and add comments to specific locations until 5 pm on Monday, 31 August at Transport for NSW.