Road rage

Ewingsdale resident Rikki McDonald-Grinberg gets ready to take on the RTA.
Ewingsdale resident Rikki McDonald-Grinberg gets ready to take on the RTA.

Residents have also called for trucks to be taken off the highway.Byron Shire community groups are lining up for a stoush with the RTA as the Tintenbar to Ewingsdale highway upgrade preliminary meetings get underway.

The first meeting held last Friday at Bangalow sparked fears of prime agricultural land being carved up while a meeting at Ewingsdale on Monday reignited calls to have trucks moved off the Pacific Highway on to the New England Highway.

An RTA spokesperson told the Byron Shire News that safety was a priority in the road upgrade.

Statistics have revealed that there have been 97 crashes between Tintenbar and Ewingsdale since July 2001 and June 2004.

This included five fatalities and 41 injuries.

RTA's Pacific Highway upgrade manager Bob Higgins said a range of options were raised at the community meetings including building a tunnel through St Helena and the effect on agricultural land of any proposed routes.

But vice president of the Ewingsdale Progress Association Rikki McDonald-Grinberg said truck noise was a major concern for Ewingsdale residents.

One Ewingsdale resident claimed that a Boeing 747 coming in at Mascot made less noise than the trucks traveling around St Hel- ena.

Mr Higgins said noise was not the only consideration for the road upgrade.

There were 16 objectives for route selection on which noise and environment were two, he said.

Ewingsdale resident Bernard Grinberg pointed out that the RTA criteria made no mention of noise or environment.

"However B-doubles are mentioned in the second line and it seems that the RTA's priority is to provide a highway that meets or exceeds B-double requirements," Mr Grinberg said.

Bangalow resident Jenny Coman said the RTA had expressed dissatisfaction with the current route.

"The area under study is very largely on the eastern side of the current route," Mrs Coman said.

This had raised concerns for Bangalow residents while Ewingsdale residents wanted the road built as far away as possible from residents.

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