The State Government has been working on plans to improve safety on the Alstonville bypass.
The State Government has been working on plans to improve safety on the Alstonville bypass. Marc Stapelberg

3 deaths, 22 crashes: It's time to fix this dangerous road

THE State Government has finalised a concept plan for safety upgrades to the Alstonville bypass.

But while Roads and Maritime Services is looking to improve the eastern junction with the Bruxner Highway, there have also been calls for the western end of the bypass to be revamped.

Ballina mayor David Wright said the council had been dealing with the Roads and Maritime Services since Roads Minister Melinda Pavey last year confirmed they would work to fine-tune safety on the stretch of the Bruxner Highway.

An RMS spokeswoman said there had been three deaths from two crashes between Sneaths and Ballina roads since the bypass opened on May 27, 2011.

A mother and daughter died in the same incident in 2013, then a motorcyclist was killed in a crash in November 2016.

Another motorcyclist died east of the Ballina Rd junction in 2016.

The spokeswoman said there had also been 19 crashes, including injuries to 14 people, one of them serious, in that period.

Not yet included in the records are three incidents at the Sneaths Rd junction in the past two weeks.

The spokeswoman said 12 of their recorded incidents involved a vehicle turning right from Sneaths Rd at Wollongbar on to the Bruxner Highway toward Lismore, before colliding with an eastbound vehicle.

Four crashes at Sneaths Rd involved a vehicle turning right at the same location with traffic already heading west on the Bruxner Highway.

In the same period, 17 people were injured in seven crashes at the Ballina Rd junction.

Cr Wright said he'd support a move to improve safety at the Sneaths Rd junction to complement changes planned for the Ballina Rd exit.

He acknowledged the "main project" for the State Government locally was the Pacific Highway upgrade, but said the volume of traffic on the Bruxner Highway meant addressing safety concerns at Alstonville was crucial.

Fellow Ballina Shire councillor Sharon Cadwallader said she was concerned by crashes in the past few weeks at both the Wollongbar and Alstonville ends of the bypass.

She hoped to see safety issues ironed out before any more serious incidents occurred.

"I am concerned but ... I understand that all the works going on on the Pacific Highway are saving lives," Cr Cadwallader said.

"At the same time I don't want to suggest this is not a priority because I believe it is.

"We're starting to see the ramifications of a poor design.

"We're starting to see that improvements need to be done and should be done as soon as possible.

"We can't wait until we've had another fatality."

The RMS spokeswoman said the department had "finalised the concept design for safety improvements at the intersection of Ballina Rd and the Bruxner Highway".

"The proposed changes will improve road safety at this busy intersection. The community will be kept informed as the project progresses," she said.

"Roads and Maritime is also looking at further safety improvements along this important corridor, including the intersections at Sneaths Rd, Wollongbar."