Speed limits along the length of Batlow Road and its intersection with Snowy Mountains Highway will be reviewed in response to community feedback.
Acting Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said the speed zone review follows the recent invitation for public comment on the intersection of Snowy Mountains Highway and Batlow Road near Tumut.
“The community has made it loud and clear that reviewing the speed limits on Batlow Road and Snowy Mountains Highway is a priority,” Mr Toole said.
Batlow residents have recently expressed concern with the speed of heavy vehicles travelling the road as post-fire logging operations continue. Complaints also surfaced that log trucks are travelling at volumes and speeds the road wasn’t designed for.
“Batlow Road is used by heavy trucks moving local produce and timber to other parts of the state and beyond so we understand safety is of critical importance to the local community,” Mr Toole said.
“Ultimately, we want to reduce the frequency and severity of crashes around this key junction which links to the Hume Highway, national parks and the Snowy Mountains.”
A Transport for NSW survey of the road received 64 submissions before closing on August 31.
Speed was “the number one issue raised”, according to Transport for NSW A/Regional Director South West, Jonathan Tasker.
Consultation then commenced on July 27 following the survey.
Along with the full length of Batlow Road, speed limits on sections of the Snowy Mountains Highway around the Batlow Road intersection will also be reviewed.
Mr Toole said the speed zone reviews will assess a number of factors, including crash history, traffic volume, property accesses and pedestrian activity.
“We will advise the community of any changes to speed zones as a result of these reviews,” Mr Toole said.
Batlow orchardist Barney Hyams said that the speed limit review is “a positive move.”
“I think the two areas that most need attention in regards to speed are the Windowie Creek bridge and the Gilmore Creek bridge,” he said.
“It’s not entirely safe for the general public for those B-doubles to be going over those bridges at 100km/h.”
Mr Hyams said he would like to see those two areas reduced to at least 80km/h. He also suggested that solar-powered slow down signs – similar to what has been placed in Tumut and Adelong – be placed at the bridges.
In terms of Batlow Road’s intersection with the Snowy Mountains Highway, Mr Hyams said that should also be reduced to 80km/h with slow-down signs clearly placed.
“I think it would probably be better off as a roundabout as well,” he added.
“Especially during fog and heavy rain, the vision is quite limited there in those circumstances.”
Mr Hyams said he is concerned about the ongoing condition of local roads due to the weight and heavy traffic of trucks carrying burnt timber.
“The roads have copped an absolute hammering with the harvesting of all this burnt timber,” he said.
“They’re not built for B-doubles and huge amounts of traffic, they’re built for motor vehicles, mainly cars and light trucks.”
The Batlow orchardist said he would like to see truck drivers receive better remuneration for delivering these heavy loads.
He also said that we need to make our roads as safe as possible, especially considering the recent efforts to attract tourists.
“It’s okay to be putting in all this new infrastructure, but we need to make sure that the infrastructure that we’ve got there already is safe,” Mr Hyams said.
“If they want to spend time and money on building roads and bridges, well maybe they should be looking at upgrading the ones that are already there.
“It’s all good to have these big projects in the cities but we’ve put up with substandard conditions for a long time now in the country.”
The full consultation report on Batlow Road is expected to be released shortly.
More information can be found online.