Calls for highway action

WHILE State and Federal Government pass the buck over responsibility for the highway at Accommodation Creek, Ballandean's Naomi Day says she risks being "cleaned up"; on a daily basis.

Ms Day, who has lived on Days Rd, just off the New England Highway, for six years said she has grave fears for her family's safety whenever she approaches the turn off at Accommodation Creek.

And after five crashes in as many years, who can blame her for her concern?

But after the Border Post quizzed both the State and Federal governments over potential road improvements, neither was prepared to accept responsibility for the dangerous one kilometre section of highway.

In the five years from January 2005 to December 2009 - data for 2010-11 is not yet available - the one kilometre section of the New England Highway between Days road and Anderson road has seen two car crashes that have resulted in hospitalisations and three that have resulted in property damage.

The State Government's Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR) said in a statement that the highway was a federally funded road and until they received funding, nothing could be done.

When asked about safety concerns, DTMR said it would begin work on re-aligning and replacing the Accommodation Creek Bridge when federal funding was made available.

The federal department responsible for providing funding, the Department of Infrastructure and Transport, said the identification of safety issues on roads in Queensland - including highways forming part of the national network - and the development of upgrade projects to address the issues was the responsibility of the Queensland Government's DTMR.

The department said expenditure and prioritising of works from the maintenance funding provided was also a matter for State Government.

Ms Day lives on Days Rd which joins the New England Highway about 50 metres north of the Accommodation Creek bridge.

"We've almost been cleaned up turning into that road a couple of times,"; she said.

"We won't turn from the highway up our road (north bound) because it's too dangerous - we go through Ballandean, up Jacobsen road.

"I don't know what to do but something definitely needs to be done.";

Last month the speed limit on the stretch on the road was dropped to 80kmh.

Stanthorpe resident Ron Lange drives along the New England Highway south of Ballandean on a regular basis.

He wrote to the Border Post last week expressing his concerns about the section of road which he believes is being ignored.

"The regional director of the Department of Main Roads states that safety of road users is the department's top priority,"; Mr Lange said.

"As we know, relying on people to comply with signage is not always effective, therefore the current higher risk of accidents remain.";

Mr Lange said recent changes to the speed limit along the highway were a bandaid fix.

He said something more permanent needed to be done to increase safety in the area.

"The approach to Accommodation Creek is a hazard and effective control measures are needed - signs to reduce speed are the least preferred option as you are leaving the control measure of slowing down entirely up to the user,"; he said.

"The government has sold state assets and banked the revenue, now it's time to use those funds and fix the roads and provide effective and safer control measures, not cheap options.

"Taking a cheaper option over a more effective and safer control measure is a hard decision to live with should another fatality or injury occur.";

Stanthorpe Border Post

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