New highway junction could lead to disaster
MODIFICATIONS to the new Pacific Highway, including a second interchange south of Grafton, have raised concerns for residents living as far north as Ulmarra.
A letter sent to directly affected residents in December last year revealed Eight Mile Lane at Glenugie as the primary southbound exit and northbound entry point for motorists south of Grafton.
However, Glenugie resident Dick Hughes is concerned this new proposal will create a black spot for motorists entering Grafton using the new junction.
"Because the last southbound exit is at Tyndale, trucks further down will have to come off at Eight Mile Lane," Mr Hughes said.
"It's not designed to handle large trucks and if you have a lot of them trying to turn right onto the Pacific Highway to go into Grafton, it's going to cause a lot of problems."
A Roads and Maritime Services spokesperson confirmed that heavy vehicles up to 19m long could use Eight Mile Lane between the existing Pacific Highway and Wooli Rd.
Mr Hughes said a turning lane onto the Pacific Highway was needed, in addition to upgrades to Eight Mile Lane to make it safer for motorists and more suitable for larger trucks.
However, these suggestions may fall on deaf ears.
"There are no plans to change existing restrictions or upgrade the road once the new interchange is open to traffic," an RMS spokesperson said.
Clarence Valley Council works and civil director Troy Anderson echoed a similar response to the RMS. He said that until the proposed highway modifications came to fruition, there were no immediate plans to improve Eight Mile Lane.
"Of course, we will continually assess this road as the highway is upgraded and changes to traffic start to occur," Mr Anderson said.
Residents further north may be impacted by this new interchange with restrictions on B-double trucks using Eight Mile Lane to remain in effect.
"I spoke to someone from the highway and told them Eight Mile wasn't designed for trucks," Mr Hughes said. "They told me that B-doubles won't be allowed to use it and will have to use the Tyndale exit."