ALP highway claims rejected by NRMA

NRMA director Alan Evans has rejected claims by Labor candidate Neil Reilly that the Princes Highway south of Nowra was one of the best roads in the world in terms of safety.

In the budget, $125 million was allocated to the New England Highway and $400 million to the Pacific Highway.

Defending the decision to allocate nothing to the Princes Highway, Mr Reilly said the highway was a pleasant drive that was safe and in excellent repair.

Local NRMA director Alan Evans said was appalled by Mr Reilly's comments, because successive and detailed studies have found the Princes Highway fails dismally in numerous key safety criteria.

Mr Evans said in many places the road was not wide enough, trees were dangerously close to the verge and there were not enough passing lanes.

Out of a top ratings score of five, the NRMA said the Princes Highway struggled to get above one- and-a-half stars.

“If [Mr Reilly] thinks this is a good road he hasn’t lived or been very far around the world,” Mr Evans said.

“What’s he been smoking?

“I couldn’t believe it when I hear Mr Reilly stating it was a fantastic piece of road and among the best in the world.

“I’ve never heard anyone rate it that way.

“I’m happy to take him along the highway and point out why it has got such a poor rating.

“Admittedly, it has been a while since the Princes Highway has been rated under the AusRAP (Australian Road Assessment Program).

“That rates roads from one to five, with five being the highest and in Australia we have no five star rating roads – the Princes Highway always rates lowly between 1.5 and two stars.

“There are numerous issues with its alignment, width, shoulders, with trees too close and sight lines.

“It is certainly not rated among the best in the world.

“We do have a couple of parts of roads up near Forster that are four star but no five stars in Australia, where there are in Europe and the United States.

“Perhaps he should go overseas and actually see what a good road is.”

He said an investment of hundreds of millions of dollars was needed to bring the Princes Highway south of Nowra up to standard.

“And we are asking all candidates to give a commitment to fight for more money for all roads with the Princes Highway being a high priority,” he said.

“It is a major interstate route, a major transports route for people living south of the Shoalhaven River – what more do you need to make it a road of importance?

“We need the road improvements to continue all the way south.”

Earlier in the week Mr Reilly said for the amount of traffic on it, the highway was perfect and there was no need to widen it.

“All that will do is make it suitable for B doubles all the way to the Victorian border,” he said.

“The road itself south of Nowra is as good as one could expect, in terms of safety it is up with the best in the world.”

Mr Reilly said the Princes Highway was not a road of national significance – it was a state road.

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