Binalong residents have been ringing alarm bells for several months about a severe increase in the number of crashes on Burley Griffin Way, and they believe it is only a matter of time until somebody loses their life.
Steve Palmer, who has brought the issue up with both the Yass Valley Council and the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) for several months, recently started a petition to have the issue addressed.
Although the road has been treacherous for years, from September 2017 it has averaged a crash per month, leading Mr Palmer to take action.
“I’ve just come back from an accident,” Mr Palmer said.
“My uncle was in a head-on accident on a motorbike, and when I got back [to Binalong] there was this truck lying here, and that’s when I decided to start the petition.”
Mr Palmer has lived in Binalong for eight years, and the issue of crashes has always been a prevalent issue where Burley Griffin Way meets Fitzroy Street.
The speed limit changes fairly abruptly from 100kph to 60kph, and is followed by a sharp bend in the road on which there is little visibility and poor drainage, so water has a tendency to pool.
Leon Arabin, another Binalong resident whose house sits on Burley Griffin Way, has had so many cars and trucks end up in his front yard that he now refuses to let his grandchildren visit or put up a fence, for fear that it would inevitably be destroyed.
“I won’t have my grandkids here, just in case a car goes through there and wipes them out,” Mr Arabin said.
“I’ll go and see them.”
Mr Palmer fees much the same way.
“My kids aren’t up there, it’s because of the road,” he said.
“I’ve got a chain that I lock the gate [with] when I’ve got my kids here because we don’t want them getting out on the road.”
Part of the issue stems from the fact that the section of road which is so treacherous is state-run and within the jurisdiction of the RMS, so the Yass Valley Council can’t make any changes to it without their consent.
“I’m just having a discussion with Robert [Fish, Director of Planning and Environmental Services for Yass Valley Council] now, as to whether there’s anything we can do in the short term,” Yass Valley Council Mayor, Rowena Abbey, said.
“What can we do in the short term while we push with the RMS? I know Robert’s taken to the RMS quite hard to get an answer sooner rather than later with the fact that the incident rate has increased.”
However, the statistics used by the RMS indicate that the road into Binalong is a low-risk zone, in part because so many accidents in the area go unreported, and it is taking some time for residents to convince them otherwise.
Cr Abbey said that she has spoken to the RMS and that they are considering installing signage on Burley Griffin Way, however she also said that a lot of the impetus to reduce the incidence rate rested with the drivers.
“A lot of the problems are obviously coming from driver behaviour, which is speed,” Cr Abbey said.
“They are speeding through there, the trucks are and the cars are.
“Now, there’s a whole lot of factors that may be affecting the reason that more cars are running off the road … but I think speed has got a lot to do with it.”
However, the locals disagreed and cited several instances where slow-moving trucks and cars still managed to skid off the road.
Councillor Nathan Furry shares this point of view, and believes that “these are dangerous intersections.”
“I don’t think we can just put this down to driver attitudes.
“If you’re having, on average, one accident a month … it’s in the public interest that action is taken on the issue.”
The locals will be looking to take the issue up with the RMS directly during February’s meeting of the Yass Valley Traffic Committee.