Highway turn-off labelled a hazard

7th December 2017 4:00 AM
Adam Hourigan Photography
Harwood Bridge intersection: Cars approach the newly created intersection with the Pacific Highway heading north at the Harwood Bridge

IT'S DIFFICULT to describe the experience of a truck entering an oncoming lane as anything other than terrifying for motorists.

With gravel covering the line markings on the Pacific Highway heading north over the Harwood Bridge, motorists travelling from Yamba and Maclean north say they are struggling to find a way to enter the highway safely.

A Lower Clarence resident who was travelling south on the Harwood Bridge yesterday morning spoke to The Daily Examiner after she had a truck come into her lane to avoid a bus which had turned directly onto the highway.

"It took me a second to realise it was swerving out of the way of a bus that had just entered the highway (heading north) from the 'cloverleaf'," she said.

"It seems the bus didn't enter the highway from the merge lane but directly into the line of traffic, but unluckily the truck was there already.

"My legs went to jelly. Seeing a truck coming towards you is quite scary."

The frightening experience had her angry about the changes to interchange line markings.

"There is no line marking or what line marking is there is covered by loose gravel," she said.

"The only thing separating the merge lane and the northbound lane of the highway are the little reflector things .

"Since this new road section opened, there has been a lot of loose gravel getting flicked up onto windscreens too.

"It's a new road, so it is now signposted to 80km/h and having vehicles enter the highway without direction from the lines is quite scary."

The resident said the merge entrance off the interchange has been shortened since the section of road opened about a week ago.

"You used to have to travel slightly more forward and I think locals may think that still needs to happen since there are no real lines marked or direction given," she said.

However, she added that the new section was a necessity.

"It had to happen due to the cracks widening on the old section but this is just as bad," she said.

Roads and Maritime Services said it took safety seriously and thanked the community for its feedback as work continued on the Woolgoolga to Ballina Pacific Highway upgrade.

"The temporary Yamba Interchange recently opened to traffic and work is still being carried out in the area including permanent line- marking, road sweeping and signage," a spokesperson said.

"Work is expected to be completed by the end of this week, weather permitting."

The spokesperson said RMS had carried out safety audits during the day and at night during work.

They said all aspects of the temporary interchange were designed to RMS's specifications.

Adam Hourigan Photography