A LOCAL resident is concerned about the speed limit along the 60km stretch of coastal road from Tathra to Akolele.
Along this drive, the majority of which is the Tathra-Bermagui Rd, there are three sections where the maximum speed limit is 100kmh - for 5km at Tanja, 6km Cuttagee to Bermagui and 4km Bermagui to Fairhaven.
The spokesperson from Tillabudgery Court has been campaigning for seven years to have this limit reduced to 80kmh due to their safety concerns for this narrow, winding road.
“The people I speak to can’t believe it is 100kmh,” they said.
Neighbours are worried about their children catching buses from the top of the court, which intersects with a 100kmh zone of the Tathra-Bermagui Rd, as cars speed by it so fast, they said.
After approaching the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) multiple times, the spokesperson said they were told in an email from the RMS in March 2013 that unrealistically low speed limits cause enforcement issues.
“A lot of people think 40km per hour outside a school is unrealistic, but they still comply to it, so it’s a non-argument in my book,” they said.
Having the limit as 80kmh would give consistency to the speed between the two towns, and the spokesperson said they are concerned Woolworths trucks would use the road to get to the developing supermarket in Bermagui.
Along the strip between Cuttagee to Bermagui, there are almost 30 driveways, which means cars have to pull out into fast traffic, and in the peak tourist season there is an increased use of this road.
The spokesperson also said many cyclists use the road and part of the coastal walk from Bermagui to Cuttagee goes alongside the road, so walkers have to be close to the traffic.
Electorate office staff for Member for Bega Andrew Constance had suggested to the spokesperson to encourage more people from the community to write letters to the MP concerning the issue, to demonstrate more support.
Mr Constance said he shared some of the concerns over the road.
“I’ve already made representations to the Minister regarding the speed limit on the Tathra-Bermagui road,” Mr Constance said.
“Roads and Maritime Services have said the road is constructed to handle traffic at 100km, but I’ve driven that road myself many times and there are places you simply can’t drive that fast.
“Local residents are right to express concerns.
“For now we will just be keeping a watching brief and we will continue to make reps on behalf of the community,” he said.
NATIONAL Parks Association president Doug Reckord believes the speed limit along the Tathra-Bermagui Rd needs to be lowered from areas that are 100kmh to 80kmh.
“Particularly as passing through national parks there are roadkill issues, with lots of wildlife, as well as being an area where there are remnants of a koala population,” he said.
“The slower that you are going the less likely you are to cause damage to the environment, and you save petrol.”
He said by going a slower speed of 80kmh motorists could save around 25 per cent of their fuel consumption.
“Slower speeds equate to lower fuel consumption,” he said.
“There are people who drive just way too fast on the road.
“Lowering the speed limit to 80kmh would help create a safer environment.”
He said if the road is wet, then with the narrow corners it can be quite dangerous.
“It lends itself to people pottering along at a slower pace, like caravans and grey nomads,” he said.
“It’s such a beautiful ride to me, and I think it’s one of the premier tourist attractions on the South Coast.”
THE Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) is not considering lowering the 100kmh speed limit zones along the Tathra-Bermagui Rd.
“Roads and Maritime Services has no plans to change the speed limit along this road,” a RMS spokesperson said.
“A review was completed in February 2012 and recommended no change to the existing speed zones.
“The 100kmh zones are in areas of low-level rural development with a road alignment consistent with the existing speed limit.”
The RMS said it regularly reviews all speed limits.
“Speed zones on all roads are determined by a number of factors not limited to the road conditions and alignment, usage, crash history and surrounding environment,” the spokesperson said.
“At this location the 100kmh speed limit is deemed appropriate.”
The spokesperson said road users are encouraged to have their say about speed limits through the www.saferroadsnsw.com.au website.