MOTORISTS are being urged to bombard the NSW government with demands to widen the “goat track” to the Bethanga Bridge.
The government’s decision to merely patch the 2.7-kilometre road near The Pines reserve has infuriated locals Julie de Hennin and John Butko, and five other regular users of the road.
Yesterday they said the NSW Roads and Maritime Services upgrade, due to start next week, was unacceptable for a dangerous, uneven, winding road that in places is only six metres wide.
Ms de Hennin, of Talgarno, is secretary of Peninsula Neighbourhood Watch.
She said locals would be dismayed at the lack of positive action for this part of the Riverina Highway.
The road was dangerous as the mix of cars, cyclists, school buses, B-doubles, livestock and other trucks meant all were at risk because the road was so narrow and lacked shoulders.
The Roads and Maritime Services regional manager Steve
Warrell told Ms de Hennin in August that “we have only limited funding in the foreseeable future, with many demands across our network”.
Mr Warrell said that latest statistics showed the heaviest traffic volume was about 2500 vehicles a day, rising to 3500 in holiday periods.
But Mr Butko said the Bellbridge township was growing and Towong Shire was encouraging residential growth on the Victorian side of the bridge.
Six years ago the Murray Darling Basin Commission funded a $12 million rehabilitation of the Bethanga Bridge before handing over the 875-metre structure to the NSW and Victorian governments.
“But the NSW government has done absolutely nothing about the road to the bridge,” Mr Butko said.
“I’ve measured the road and in parts it is only six to 6.2 metres wide without any shoulder, so if a truck driver suddenly sees a cyclist ahead, the truck has nowhere to go.”
“We urge people to write to the government and tell them this road must be widened.”
Neighbour Alastair Bass was concerned about motorists unfamiliar with the road.
“The locals know where to slow down on the bends, but visitors don’t,” he said.