Drivers use new road as a race track

THE Lockhart Council has a road-safety dilemma on its hands.

It has spent heavily recently upgrading bends at Urangeline East on the Albury-Lockhart road.

But some motorists, while appreciating the upgrade, have been abusing it.

They have been testing the new conditions by seeing how fast they can “take” the new bends.

And the result, according to the council’s road safety officer Shelagh Merlin, has been several more crashes.

“People have been treating it as a race track,” Mrs Merlin said.

The stretch of road had been the site of many crashes in recent years with a fatal accident there last year.

So the council matched “blackspot” funding it received from the NSW government to alter the camber and straighten bends.

But Mrs Merlin said there had now been four run-off-the-road crashes in a short time.

“Motorists are attempting to drive through the bends faster than either they or their vehicle are capable of handling,” Mrs Merlin said.

She said police were likely to conduct more patrols of the area after the latest crashes.

She warned drivers about speeding through that section or along the road between Walbundrie and Lockhart.

“If they speed, there is a good chance the highway patrol will catch them,” she said.

There are large 75km/h advisory signs at both the southern and northern ends of the upgrade.

“Motorists are urged to slow down and drive to the road conditions,” Mrs Merlin said.

“We urge motorists to modify their speed.”

She said highway patrol police were monitoring the road and more patrols were likely to catch thrill-seeking drivers.

“We are hoping the presence of highway patrol vehicles on the road will assist in slowing traffic and that this will lead to improved safety outcomes for everyone,” Mrs Merlin said.