A Tumut Community Association proposal to upgrade the Batlow Road/Snowy Mountains Highway intersection, lead by Gilmore Resident Col Locke, has been rejected by the Roads and Maritime Service.
Mr Locke’s plan would have had a new section of road branching off from the Batlow Road before it meets the highway, and looping underneath to rejoin the highway further along closer to Tumut using an old rail corridor (see pictured).
More importantly though, he says, it would have reduced the speed limit on the highway to 60 kilometres an hour for the stretch before and after it meets the Batlow Road.
“People on the Snowy Mountains Highway don’t regulate their speed and consider the people coming in from Batlow,” he said.
“On the other side, when you’re in a sedan, it’s very hard to see past the rail – especially when it’s windy or foggy.
“The RMS seems to be of the opinion that if they smooth the surface and things like that then they can keep it at 100 kilometres an hour, but we can’t have the community at risk like that.”
In a letter to Mr Locke, the RMS said the works they had already completed on the intersection were sufficient.
“The Batlow Road Snowy Mountains Highway intersection falls within the recently completed Snowy Mountains Highway and MR85 Jingellic to Gilmore Road curve improvement project,” the letter stated.
“Roads and Maritime carried out extensive planning, reviews and upgrades along this length including safety improvements and increased sight distance at this intersection.
“A road safety audit completed following the project completion highlighted additional works to improve safety. These works included minor adjustments to the concrete median and line marking at the intersection to allow light vehicles to square up and remove obstructed visibility issues raised by community.
“The intersection and improvement works is designed to current standards to 100 km/hr conditions and aims to reduce high-speed turning movements.
“A recent speed zone review, took into consideration sight distance, among other criteria with the 100km/hr speed limit determined appropriate, for this location.
“I thank Mr Locke for his proposed plans for this intersection. However, using disused rail corridors is not economically viable when Roads and Maritime investigations show the current intersection is functional.”
Mr Locke said he accepted that the plan to create a new section of road would not go ahead for the time being, but that he was going to keep pushing for the speed limit to be changed.
“I think we need to keep pressing the point because the intersection is quite dangerous still, having it at 100 kilometres, especially in the wind and the fog,” he said.
A Gilmore woman lost her life in an accident at that intersection in June.