Highway blackspot trial turning ban to begin this week
SAFETY upgrades to a "dangerous" Alstonville intersection are complete, with a trial to start a right turn ban onto the highway during afternoons.
The upgrade comes as promised after a three-stage plan to improve the safety at the intersection of the Bruxner Highway and Ballina Road at Alstonville was announced by the State Government in September.
This announcement came after the death of 39-year-old Jeremy Plooy at the Ballina Rd junction at Alstonville in August.
Since the incident, Roads and Maritime Services has installed flashing warning lights on the approach to the site.
Nationals Parliamentary Secretary for Northern NSW Ben Franklin said the State Government was committed to making this intersection safer for the thousands of motorists who pass through it each day.
"Work to increase the length of the eastbound merging lane from Ballina Road onto the Bruxner Highway and widening the left hand turning lane from Ballina Road is complete," Mr Franklin said.
"Roads and Maritime Services has worked closely with Ballina Shire Council and NSW Police to introduce a trial ban from Thursday December 6 for motorists turning right out of Ballina Road on to the Bruxner Highway from 3pm to 6pm.
"This restriction is designed to reduce the risk of motorists being blinded by the sun when looking to the west, which can affect the ability to judge the distance of oncoming traffic."
Mr Franklin said a high proportion of the serious crashes at this intersection have occurred in the afternoon.
"Motorists are still able to turn west onto the Bruxner Highway from Kays Lane," Mr Franklin said.
"Electronic messaging boards will be in place to remind motorists of these changes and the restriction will be reviewed early next year to determine if it should continue."
He said the third stage would involve a rigorous a rigorous assessment and analysis of the site would be made to consider what further improvements are needed, possibly traffic lights, a roundabout or grade separation.
Last month, Ballina Shire Councillor Nathan Willis lodged a notice of motion that the council approach the state and federal governments for "urgent funding" for a roundabout or suitable alternative to address the "serious traffic accidents that continue to occur at the eastern exit".
"The trial is welcome as it is clear that something needs to be done," Mr Willis said.
"We need to explore all options including a possible roundabout and ensure that any decisions reflect best practice."
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