BLACK SPOT: The Alstonville bypass intersection, where the Bruxner Hwy meets Ballina Rd at Alstonville has been the scene of numerous traffic incidents.
BLACK SPOT: The Alstonville bypass intersection, where the Bruxner Hwy meets Ballina Rd at Alstonville has been the scene of numerous traffic incidents. Marc Stapelberg

Is this the Northern Rivers' most dangerous intersection?

IT'S dubbed one of the most dangerous intersections on the Bruxner Hwy.

The Alstonville bypass T-junction, where the Bruxner Hwy meets Ballina Rd, has been the site for countless near misses, crashes and, sadly, a fatal accident in November last year.

Local residents have described it as a "nightmare", "bloody frightening" and "truly horrific".

Safety is such an issue at the intersection that regular users of the road take extra care when driving in the area while others avoid it completely, preferring the on and off ramps at the Russelton Industrial Estate. These exits appear to provide safer access to and from the Plateau villages.

Drivers, cyclists and Ballina Shire councillors have all expressed concern about the situation.

Ballina Shire Mayor David Wright labelled last year's motorcycle fatal as "one of the worst crashes emergency services had to attend".

Following the crash residents took to social media to plead for action to make the intersection safer.

David Moore-Evans wrote on Ballina Shire Councillor Keith Williams' Facebook page: "The bypass took years to be granted and it was put there to reduce traffic through the village and stop the chance of people being hit by the volume of traffic through Main St, but the quantity of near misses, small accidents and large accidents with fatalities is becoming all too common".

His comments were backed by many other residents.

There were calls for the speed limit to be reduced from 80km/h to 60km/h and the installation of a roundabout at the intersection was floated as a possible solution.

"The merge lane heading east out of Alstonville is a nightmare with reckless drivers jumping into the highway traffic ahead of those in the merging lane. Near misses, swerving cars and just dangerous," Jeanette Osbiston wrote on the Facebook thread.

Cr Wright agreed that motorists exiting and entering the highway at the Alstonville exit created "a lot of action for one intersection".

Following a recent safety review at the site, Roads and Maritime Service said in a statement "an additional merge right sign will be installed to further advise drivers".

"The intersection will continue to be monitored and options to integrate traffic, road safety, asset management, land use and development initiatives considered to maximise community benefits," an RMS spokeswoman said.

Cr Wright said discussions with the council, RMS and police will continue in a bid to enhance safety at the infamous intersection.

He said the merging lane from the intersection onto the eastbound lane of the highway was the main safety concern and suggested extending the lane to alleviate traffic pressures.

"I personally believe there needs to be a longer holding lane going east but that's going to be hard to put in," Cr Wright said.

Ballina councillor Keith Williams said the merging lane needed to be at least doubled in length to allow motorists more time to merge.

"The accident history says it needs to be changed, the sooner the better," he said.

Despite some calls for a roundabout at the location, the mayor and his colleague said it was not the best solution.

Cr Wright said "the idea of a bypass is to keep traffic moving" and flagged concerns that a roundabout replacement may defeat the road's purpose.

 

There are also concerns a roundabout would be a hindrance for cyclists.

"I don't think a roundabout would be any good for anyone, it'd be a bit of a nuisance," Greg Bono said.

The Alstonville Groupetto cycle club member said of all the intersections in the region, the bypass "requires the most caution".


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