Three hundred people made something crystal clear on Wednesday night. They want the intersection of Jervis Bay Road and the Princes Highway fixed as a matter of urgency.
That’s a force to be reckoned with, especially heading into an important election year during which the fate of governments in Canberra and Macquarie Street will be decided. It is safe to assume that for every person who attended the public meeting on a rainy midweek evening, there are at least 10 or 20 other people who share the same opinion.
So any politician not prepared to take on board the sentiment expressed by these long-suffering residents and motorists is both foolish and reckless.
Fed up with the long delays encountered at the intersection – we have heard of people waiting 45 minutes to get onto the highway during holidays – residents are also concerned about the potential for disaster.
That potential is made plain for everyone who drives south on the highway during peak times, when drivers turning right out Jervis Bay Road dash out across oncoming traffic, often at great risk to themselves and other motorists.
There is a nagging feeling that it is only a matter of time before tragedy occurs
Basin resident Ian Shapcott, who travels through the intersection daily, couldn’t have said it better.
“It’s not the first car that comes out that I’m worried about, it’s the second one,” he said.
“If you’re saying there’s no politics involved, as an outsider looking in, I see a lot of politics in this. In the Basin area we had to wait so long for the pool, for the shopping centre, for the police station, so for God’s sake let’s fix this road, forget all the political things and fix it now because I’m sick of coming home and worrying about whether I’m going to get home.”
That risk is growing with the years.
Statistics presented to the meeting showed there had been a 15 per cent increase in weekend traffic on the highway from 2015 to 2017 and a 36 per cent increase overall from 2007 to 2017.
With the upgrade of the highway north of Nowra, the traffic volume will only increase, giving more urgency to fixing the intersection.
The message from the meeting was consistent with what we’ve been saying since March: FIX IT NOW