A motorbike rider died after a crash on the intersection of Ballina Rd and the Bruxner Hwy at Alstonville on Monday.
A motorbike rider died after a crash on the intersection of Ballina Rd and the Bruxner Hwy at Alstonville on Monday. Marc Stapelberg

Horror stretch of highway angers residents after tragedy

RESIDENTS have flocked to support a campaign calling for an urgent upgrade of the Alstonville Bypass.

Concerns for the deadly stretch of the Bruxner Highway were reignited this week, after the second death at the Ballina Rd, Alstonville interchange since the bypass was completed.

Alstonville resident Matt Tanttari, who uses that junction daily, has launched a petition calling for sites along the bypass to the upgraded.

He had reached 1187 signatures at the time of publication.

Mr Tanttari has called for four changes:

  • A roundabout at the Wollongbar exit (Sneaths Rd)
  • A roundabout at the Alstonville exit (Ballina Rd)
  • An upgrade of the Wardell Rd overpass to an interchange
  • Completion of the North Ballina exit

Mr Tanttari said he was surprised by the response the petition had received so far.

"People have been really angry at the highway design," he said.

"And we've just heard they don't use this intersection design on new busy highways because of its danger."

He said his call for a roundabout was the "minimum" safe option, but might not cater to the increasing traffic for the region, given its forecast population growth.

"We all prefer a quick trip between Ballina and Lismore," he said.

"Roundabouts slow it down.

"If the population growth trajectory of the area is true, proper highway interchanges should be installed."

In the petition, he said the benefits of upgrades along the Bruxner Highway would "far outweigh the costs".

"I ... have to navigate the Alstonville turn-off daily and while I am careful, it is a difficult turn off that requires 100% focus to be safe and I see potential accidents there almost every second day," he said.

While the State Government spent $475,000 to extend a merging land at the Ballina Rd interchange in May this year, Mr Tanttari said this wasn't enough.

"I think the scandal of it is that decision-makers haven't spent the money to fix a a design that is acknowledged as dangerous," he said.

A motorcyclist travelling east on the Bruxner Highway was flung from his bike after colliding with a van on Monday afternoon.

Despite efforts to revive him, he died at the scene.

In April this year, an RMS spokeswoman confirmed there had, at that time, been three deaths from two crashes between Sneaths and Ballina roads since the bypass opened on May 27, 2011.

There had been 22 recorded crashes during that time.

Ballina MP Tamara Smith announced she had called an urgent meeting with police, the RMS and Ballina Shire Council after Monday's crash.

Ms Smith said the recent lane extension had "clearly ... not improved the safety of the whole intersection".

Sign Mr Tanttari's petition here.