Reducing the speed limit is only a band-aid solution

Gosford Council, NSW Police and the RMS have conducted a draft speed zone review of the current speed limit of George Downes Dr, and do not plan any public consultation.

The speed review has considered that the current speed is dangerous to motorists and the current standard of the road is insufficient for travelling at such speed. Three fatal motor vehicle crashes during the past five years between Hanson Quarry and Springs Rd, Kulnura, were sighted as another reason to reduce the posted speed limit along the entire length of George Downes Dr.

Gosford Council staff advised that it is likely that the entire length of the road, from Peats Ridge Rd to Settlers Rd, Bucketty, (excluding the cross road area which is now 60 Km/hr) will be permanently lowered to 80 km/hr and the Kulnura ‘Village’ area from Springs Rd to Kyola Rd will be dropped to 60 Km/hr. Surprisingly the council officer remarked that when he drove the road he “was scared to drive at 100 Km/hr citing in his opinion the road was too dangerous at that speed.

Maybe temporarily reducing the speed while awaiting an upgrade between Hanson Quarry and Springs Rd may provide a more suitable alternative than lower speed limits applying to the entire road. However, the issues with this road are not black and white and blaming the allowable speeds for fatal crashes is simplistic and naive.

Regular users of this road complain about the poor state of the road seal edge, lack of hard shoulder, trees, power poles and other items intruding into the shoulder area and not enough overtaking opportunities as more obvious risks for fatalities. Too many motorists are Seen driving with two wheels on the driver’s side of their vehicle well over the double white centrelines to avoid the uneven and erratic left hand seal edge, and to avoid damage to their tyres or vehicle.

Reducing the speed is not an acceptable alternative to the major safety upgrades needed for this road and should only be seen as the money saving band aid solution it is. Regardless of the change to posted speed limits, the condition of the road and the road corridor will still result in deaths from crashes. Our community should not accept this approach to local road safety.

How could $5 million be allocated by the NSW State Government to upgrade Wisemans Ferry Rd, and George Downes Drive, with in excess of one million vehicle movements a year between Peats Ridge and Settlers Rd, Bucketty, (RTA survey 2003) be completely ignored by Gosford Council? Let’s let Gosford Council know that we don’t need lower speeds but we do need meaningful investment in safety for the entire length of George Downes Dr and point out the promotion of this road as ‘Tourist Route 33’.

With an ever increasing number of tourists using this road, the absence of safety upgrades will make this road dangerous at any speed.

Email, 17 Jul 2014
Michael Kidd, Kulnura