Dangerous Riverina Highway stretch misses out on funding

TALGARNO truck driver Don Elliot sees the danger every single day.

A commercial livestock carrier for 40 years, Mr Elliot fears the narrow, winding stretch of the Riverina Highway near Lake Hume Village.

“If I were to stay on my side of the road when people are coming at me over double lines I’d get one fatality a week,” he said.

To avoid them he has to pull his truck off the bitumen, right to the edge of the gravel.

Mr Elliot spoke out at news that the highway had once again failed to attract funding in the NSW budget.

This has also drawn the ire of Albury mayor Kevin Mack.

But Albury MP Greg Aplin said critics had a “very foolish” and shortsighted outlook, as planning was well advanced to fix the road.

“Everybody seems to think that the budget is Christmas Day and there is nothing else happening during the course of the year,” he said.

Mr Aplin’s comments come as $400 million was set aside for a Western Sydney light rail plan through Parramatta despite not yet knowing how much it will cost or what route it might take.

Bellbridge resident John Butko was critical of Mr Aplin over the road.

“For the life of me I don’t understand why Greg doesn’t do anything about it,” he said.

“Lake Hume is still Albury-Wodonga’s major tourist attraction.”

Mr Elliot said that somehow he had had just one crash on the road over the years.

“I was on my side of the road and there were double lines,” he said.

A learner driver came straight at him, failing to follow a bend.

The car struck Mr Elliot’s truck and then hit an embankment.

“Fortunately no one was injured,” he said.