A bus driver who has driven Bega Valley’s roads for many years has said two bridges in the northern part of the shire are urgently in need of an upgrade to improve road safety.
Doug Lever, who has run Bega Valley Coaches with his family since 2000, contacted the Bega District News after seeing coverage of its FIX IT NOW campaign.
The campaign is calling for the Princes Hwy to be classified as a road of national significance and for the federal and state governments to commit to an 80/20 funding split for essential upgrades and safety improvements over its southern sections.
Mr Lever said two of the most dangerous bridges on the highway are Brogo and Alsops – the one at Dignams Creek would have been included in the list, but it is currently being upgraded.
“Most people do not expect a bridge like Brogo Bridge to be built on a highway,” he said.
“If you’re heading north and you don’t pull over to the side at the start of the bridge, a truck coming across it can’t get off.”
He said when driving south on the Brogo Bridge trucks and buses have to cross onto the wrong side of the road when they come off it because it is so narrow and there is a sharp turn.
Also Alsops Bridge, which is near Brogo Hall, is too narrow for two large vehicles to cross at the same time, he said.
While he has not seen accidents at the sites, he has been overtaken by cars on both bridges when driving a bus – even though it is illegal to do so.
Mr Lever decided to help improve safety on the roads himself, using his company’s funds to fit out all his buses with CB radios which were also used by truck drivers.
“So for example when you’re coming south and you get near the Brogo Bridge you call up and say ‘south bound Brogo’,” he said.
“The first to call up gets right of way so you don’t meet each other on the bridge.
“But you still have to contend with the cars and caravans.
“We also put extra lights on the side of the buses so our drivers can see where the side of the bridge is.”
He has some advice for drivers at the bridges.
“Just take it easy,” Mr Lever said.
“There’s no point in fighting for the bridge.”
FIX IT NOW, launched across South Coast newspapers in March, is gaining plenty of traction in all the right areas with backing from the NRMA as well as support from Bega Cheese.