After another tragic fatality on the Barton Highway, I admit to feeling almost at a loss.
Apparently, federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese has no interest in finding the money to fix the Barton (and by ‘fix’ I mean make it a dual carriageway from the Hume to Hall).
The highway is perceived, on a federal level, to be a non-issue. Such a small highway, and it’s only Yass commuters who are bothered by it anyway.
They lose sight of the fact it’s a national highway, and part of the main route between Melbourne and other southern cities and towns to the national capital.
The mix of traffic on the Barton is part of its recipe for disaster. Weary drivers trekking from Melbourne or Adelaide, day-tripping tourists, Woollies’ semitrailers, commuters running to a tight schedule, school buses and farmers heading to town – it’s a lethal mix.
And it all converges on a 40 kilometre stretch of highway with a 100 kilometre speed limit, a single lane in each direction, and very few opportunities to overtake.
Let’s forget singling out this or that intersection as a ‘blackspot’. The whole road should be a blackspot. All you need is for someone to behave stupidly, get distracted, or misjudge a corner and you have a major catastrophe on your hands.
I can hear the arguments now: a dual carriageway won’t stop people driving like idiots. True. Nothing will do that. But it does significantly lessen the likelihood that the innocent will be caught up in their carnage.
So, what to do? Live in complacency, accepting that it’s just how it is and full funding for the dual carriageway will never come?
Or do we kick up a stink about something which is eminently fixable?
I’ve never been good at complacency. So, if you’re sick of the highway and want to see change, I want to hear from you. We’ll be publishing people’s horror stories, collecting data and using our new found social media clout to push this barrow as far as we can.
Watch this space for more.