Greg Aplin invited to ride dangerous road

Bellbridge’s John Butko, Albury’s Paul Butko, Talgarno’s Don Elliot and Bethanga’s John Atkins got together yesterday to discuss the dangerous state of the Riverina Highway between Lake Hume Resort and Bethanga Bridge. Picture: KYLIE ESLER

Bellbridge’s John Butko, Albury’s Paul Butko, Talgarno’s Don Elliot and Bethanga’s John Atkins got together yesterday to discuss the dangerous state of the Riverina Highway between Lake Hume Resort and Bethanga Bridge. Picture: KYLIE ESLER

ALBURY MP Greg Aplin has been urged to get on his bike to see the dangers of the Riverina Highway near Lake Hume for himself.

Bellbridge resident John Butko invited Mr Aplin to join the hundreds of cyclists who use the road every Saturday and Sunday.

Mr Butko said he and many others from the area were “extremely disappointed” funding had not been made available in this week’s NSW budget.

Albury mayor Kevin Mack was another to express his dismay at the decision, as well as the Wagga Road upgrade and the Albury Art Gallery redevelopment missing out.

But Mr Aplin has repeatedly stated he is well aware of the problems with the road.

He has been pressing for many years for the 2.7-kilometre hillside section approaching Bethanga Bridge to be upgraded and for a separate narrow section near Hawksview to be widened.

Mr Aplin said no mention of the road in the budget did not mean nothing was being done.

“Last year works were undertaken to the tune of $220,000 and another $150,000 was obtained (for planning),” he said.

“The facts are the money was available under the previous Liberal government in 1995 for that road, but when Labor came to power it was used elsewhere.

“As a result, work has been undertaken on many areas along the road, but that section still requires some detailed planning.”

Mr Aplin said Roads and Maritime Services was carrying out the study, which initially was meant to be go before Roads Minister Duncan Gay in the first half of this year.

A change in management at RMS has delayed that slightly.

Mr Aplin said he wanted the study to be ready by later this year when Infrastructure NSW started considering projects for possible funding.

He pointed out $2.2 million had been allocated in the budget for planning and acquisitions.

Mr Butko said the danger for motorists and cyclists had got worse since trees were cleared recently at The Pines.

Talgarno livestock carrier Don Elliot told of a crash where a car crossed to the wrong side of the road and hit his truck.

That was 20 years ago, “and the road has not improved one skerrick”.

“The two bad corners on the road are blind corners,” he said.

“If they were widened so people could see what was coming, and you straightened it out from there, it wouldn’t be so bad.”

Mr Elliot said the road was ridiculous given it was the link between Albury and Lake Hume.

“You’ve got the greatest tourist attraction around with the worst bloody road in Australia to it,” he said.

“It puts people off coming here.”

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