UNSAFE: While Ballina Shire Council have promised to improve safety at a dangerous intersection at the corner of Byron Bay Road and Byron Street at Lennox Head, Ballina MP says having to wait until another crash occurs there before its eligible for black spot funding is disturbing.
UNSAFE: While Ballina Shire Council have promised to improve safety at a dangerous intersection at the corner of Byron Bay Road and Byron Street at Lennox Head, Ballina MP says having to wait until another crash occurs there before its eligible for black spot funding is disturbing.

How many crashes will happen here before something is done?

A DANGEROUS intersection at Lennox Head is one casualty crash off being eligible for black spot funding, Ballina Shire Council has revealed.

The interestion of Byron Bay Road and Byron Street at Lennox Head has raised public concerns, with calls for road safety improvements after multiple crashes at the location.

While the southern end of Byron Bay Rd as well as Ross Lane/Byron Bay Rd - heading north into Lennox Head have received black spot funding and had roundabouts put in to improve safety this intersection has not yet made the cut.

A Ballina Shire Council spokeswoman said the intersection has had two crashes resulting in casualties since 2014 on the Crash Link Database and was therefore not eligible for Black Spot Funding.

"To be eligible for black spot funding a site must have three casualty-crashes … in a five-year rolling period prior to the application being submitted," she said.

"The section of Byron Bay Road north of Ross Lane to the Byron Shire boundary had nine casualty-crashes, including a fatality, in the rolling five-year period prior to the successful funding application, therefore deeming the section eligible for the funding.

The spokeswoman said the council did have plans to improve this intersection, by providing separate left and right turn lanes in Byron Street entering onto Byron Bay Road.

"This provision of an extra lane (that being the left-hand-turn lane) will reduce queuing and hopefully minimise congestion and wait times at the intersection," she said.

Proposed works are included in the Council's Long Term Financial Plan and scheduled for the 2020/21 financial year.

"The detail of the program is yet to be developed but it is anticipated works will commence this calendar year," she said.

She said the scope of work for the Byron Street intersection included shoulder widening, a dedicated left turn lane, and moving the holding line to improve sight distance.

"Council has submitted an application for Black Spot Funding in 2020/21 for the section of Byron Bay Road between the Byron Street intersection and Ross Lane roundabout, and on Ross Lane between Byron Bay Road and the Pacific Highway," she said.

"This route, connecting Lennox Head and the Pacific Highway, was eligible for a funding application as there were 13-casualty-crashes in the rolling five-year period prior to the application being lodged."

Ballina MP Tamara Smith said as a member of local traffic committee she would continue to advocate for safety improvements at the unsafe intersection.

"I will certainly be raising this as an urgent issue at the next meeting and I'll be asking for an update on that funding," Ms Smith said.

She said Transport for NSW's black spot funding was a flawed deficit model that needed to be restructured.

"An unsafe intersection needed to be addressed as soon as it becomes obvious," she said.

"It's extremely disappointing we have to wait for Transport for NSW have to go through their processes when the sense of urgency in the community is already there and people are communicating just how unsafe they feel at those spots.

"The idea is that it has to get to a particular threshold is so distasteful.

"We are over represented on the North Coast for drink driving- rates are really high - we are in the top five in the state … we have people driving around intoxicated on really dangerous roads, and throw in black spots, that's crazy levels of risk or people driving on our roads"


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